HISTORIC Hove library is now open seven days a week – two months after it was saved from closure and being sold into private hands.

The Carnegie library building in Church Road, Hove, is now open and staffed on Monday mornings and Sundays.

Ten out of the city's 12 branch libraries will also open for longer and and three-quarters for seven days a week under the council’s Libraries Extra scheme which will allow readers to pick up books even when there are no staff.

Campaigners have welcomed the news but have called for greater investment in book stocks to ensure that the city’s libraries continue to attract book lovers.

Hove’s increased opening comes weeks after its immediate future was secured when Conservative and Green councillors agreed an alternative plan to the sell-off of the grade II listed building moving library facilities into an expanded Hove Museum.

The Libraries Plan also proposed opening up branch libraries for extended hours unstaffed following a successful trial at Woodingdean and Portslade branches.

The move will almost double opening hours across the city to 701 hours per week.

Library campaigner and former city councillor Christopher Hawtree said: “Time and again during the eight months’ Carnegie campaign, people said to me that they have to order books - at a £1 a time - as those they want so often turn out to be Brighton stock.

“Hove stock used to be far better - fiction has become noticeably poor - and its once-notable music section has been shrunken.

"Provide ample books, and readers come along for them, and I hope that we can do more to ensure that the Carnegie’s stock matches the abundance that draws people to City Books and Waterstone’s.”

He added the city had “a great opportunity” to show the rest of the country what a local authority can do in providing residents with abundant books.

Conservative Councillor Robert Nemeth said: "This fantastic announcement just goes to show that cross-party campaigns to stand up to any bad policies that may emanate from the Labour administration really can yield worthwhile results for the good people of Hove."

Councillor Alan Robins, the council’s lead on culture, said: “I have always said the Libraries Plan was really incredible because we had asked for budget savings and officers had found them but also extended the hours.

“The Libraries Extra schemes have been a success, I think the only thing that has gone missing is a couple of 50p magazines.”

A Brighton and Hove City council spokesman said: “The recent policy committee decision did not include any agreement to invest further in the book stock.”