BOOK lovers are being given the run of the library without any librarians to shush them under a new scheme.

Residents are being given the chance to use two libraries in Brighton and Hove outside of opening hours and unsupervised under the Libraries Extra scheme.

From next month, bookworms who successfully apply for an enhanced library card at Woodingdean or Portslade library will be able to use services by themselves at times when the library would ordinarily be closed.

The card will allow residents to meet friends and family at the library, browse and read books, borrow and return books, CDs and DVDs through self-service machines and use computers and printers.

They will be monitored by CCTV and a live audio feed with library support staff on hand via a helpline.

An emergency phone line to security staff will also be set-up.

Library members 18 and above will be able to sign up to the scheme while youngsters will also be able to attend after hours if accompanied by a responsible adult.

Similar schemes have already launched in Leeds and also across Europe including most notably in Denmark.

A council spokeswoman said that a decision on whether to extend the scheme to the city’s other 12 libraries will be assessed on the success of the pilot scheme.

She added that the scheme was not “a replacement for a staffed library service” but would provide additional access to the library at a time when the building is not usually open.

At Portslade Library in Old Shoreham Road, the scheme will operate between 2pm and 7pm on Mondays, 9am and 7pm on Thursdays and 2pm to 5pm on Fridays.

The unsupervised service will be available at Woodingdean Library in Warren Road between 9am and 7pm on Tuesdays, 9am to 5pm on Wednesdays and 9am to 5pm on Fridays.

Councillor Alan Robins, lead member for libraries and culture, said: “We are launching a new way of accessing library services which will give extra value for residents.

“The Libraries Extra scheme means residents will be able to browse the shelves, borrow books and use the computers without any staff being present.

“The libraries will be monitored by CCTV and a dedicated helpline will be available.

“I encourage all residents in Woodingdean and Portslade to sign up for Libraries Extra and make the most of such an excellent resource in the community.”