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Protesters show

Protesters show strength of support in battle for library

HUNDREDS of library users flocked to Friern Barnet library on Saturday to show their support for the facility which has been threatened with closure.

Earlier in the year Barnet Council outlined proposals to close the library in Friern Barnet Road as well as one in North Finchley to create a landmark arts library in Finchley’s artsdepot.

Since then residents have mounted a campaign to highlight the importance of their local library.

About 400 people braved torrential rain on Saturday to support the campaign.

Martin Russo from the library campaign said: “It’s more than just a library, it provides support for local families and children. One in four children in Coppetts ward is living on the poverty line. The library is a place to learn, a quiet place to read books. A lot of children’s literacy levels are in danger of being compromised by the closure of the library.”

Organisers set up stalls and competitions for children outside the library and a resident baked a caterpillar cake with 77 candles and musicians entertained the crowd for the two-hour demonstration.

Barnet Council’s cabinet members are due to discuss the proposals at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

Their report acknowledges there may be transport issues for older residents who will have further to travel if Friern Barnet is closed. The report says: “There may be some impact on those with disabilities who cannot access public or private transport to reach the library site, and are also not eligible for the home library service, but adverse impacts will be mitigated by providing a new library at the heart of the bus and road network.”

Mr Russo also highlighted that facilities are needed especially after recent developments along Friern Barnet Road and near New Southgate train station. He added: “We need as many people there to support us. It’s on that meeting that they will vote to close the library.”
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