A HISTORIC library will be fitted with seven CCTV cameras as a scheme allowing bookworms to browse unsupervised is rolled out.

Rottingdean library is being fitted with £23,000 of new surveillance equipment as Brighton and Hove City Council’s Libraries Extra scheme is extended to more community libraries.

The scheme allowing adult library users to use facilities after closing time and without librarians was launched in September in Woodingdean and Portslade libraries.

Now after an increase in library users and the overcoming of the odd glitch, the council is preparing to roll out the scheme to more community libraries around the city creating a seven day a week service and doubling opening hours to more than 700 hours per week.

The city council is seeking planning permission to fit security cameras and a door entry system at the listed Georgian Grange in Rottingdean High Street.

Under the scheme, library users can apply for a special card to enter libraries after hours.

Users are monitored on CCTV, can speak via a live audio feed with library support staff and can use a phone line to security staff in case of emergency.

The council said that its security arrangements, which include security staff opening and closing the buildings each day, an on hand rapid response team and IT systems to monitor all comings and goings into the libraries, were "significantly more" than other councils exploring similar unstaffed schemes.

Libraries Extra will be rolled out into other community libraries but the council does not require listed building consent for fitting out other facilities.

The three month pilot at Woodingdean and Portslade saw 288 library users make 318 separate visits with council officers reporting a steady increase month on month.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: "The cost of fitting out Rottingdean Library with cameras and door entry system is £23,309.

"The figures will vary from library to library depending on how many cameras are needed and what changes if any are needed to the door.

"There have been a few teething problems with the doors and we had to issue new instructions on how to access the libraries."

Councillor Alan Robins, lead member for libraries and culture, said: "Its been very successful in Portslade and Woodingdean, its looks like we have had more and more people using the service after hours

"There doesn't seem to be any problems with people using it other than the odd magazine going missing, a few people have left with their Woman's Weekly.

"We are now looking to expand it to as many community libraries as it is practical."