Press Release‎ > ‎

June 2011

The campaign to save Friern Barnet Library from closure continues


The petition to save Friern Barnet Library from closure will be presented at the Residents’ Forum at Coppetts Wood School on Thursday, 23rd June at 6 pm.  We will ask the petition to be taken to Cabinet for consideration.


We are handing over the petition, representing thousands of voices, to the Cabinet of Barnet Council with a clear mandate.  Since our fantastic ‘Read In’ on May 21st, paper petitions have been held in local shops and so far some 2000 signatures have been collected. This is in addition to over 700 signatures collected on the online petition. This demonstrates the strength of feeling in our diverse local community against the Council’s proposal to close Friern Barnet Library in favour of a possible library provision in the Arts Depot.


The community of Friern Barnet wants to keep our library open for future generations – we do not want to have to travel to North Finchley.  We want young families, the unemployed, the elderly and all residents to continue to benefit from the many services our Friern Barnet library has to offer.


We support the improvement of children's literacy levels in Barnet and believe that the closing of Friern Barnet Library would disproportionately affect those children who need it most: one in four children in Coppetts Ward lives in poverty (Office of National Statistics) and many of these children are users of Friern Barnet Library. 


Cllr Robert Rams had stated that ‘Children are at the heart of this. Every primary school child in Barnet will be sent to the library to introduce them to how it works’.


If Friern Barnet Library closes, 750 primary school children will no longer be able to walk to a library after school.


The literacy levels as reported in London’s Evening Standard campaign “Get London Reading” and supported by the Duchess of Cornwall are a real cause for concern for us. And closing our local library would deprive future generations of a place to learn and read. A decent chance in life.


Friern Barnet Library provides access for local residents to a world of knowledge through books and computers – but it’s about so much more. Local families cannot believe that such an important provision for their children could be taken away. Elderly residents who pop in every day to read the paper feel unable to trek to the Arts Depot – they could lose a precious local lifeline. Childminders would no longer take their groups of toddlers to rhyme time or story time sessions, unable to manage the bus journey. So many local people value their library, with its lovely village green, as the last focal point in Friern Barnet: the heart of our community.


We urge Barnet council to listen, reconsider and keep our community alive. We ask them to keep our library open.


Quote from Barnet Council’s Strategic Library Review

Barnet Council states that one of the objectives of its Strategic Library Review is:

‘Opportunity for all children:(to) increase reading, literacy and learning opportunities for children. More than ever, literacy is the key to a full and productive life…Literacy is the gateway to learning at school; it is a basic requirement for acquiring and maintaining the essentials in life, like a home and a job, and, increasingly, it is the key to economic success.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) has found that reading for pleasure is one of the most important indicators for the future success of a child.

Promoting reading and literacy for all children must be at the heart of our library service in the future.’



Quotes from local residents

Fiona Cochrane, Hampton Close N11, says:


“The library is central to the Friern Barnet community, well used by people of all ages. I have taken my daughter to the rhyme time classes since she was a baby and she continues to attend with her childminder now. These classes form an essential part of a child's development, both through learning and socially through interaction with other children. This is something that we should be strongly encouraging. Expecting childminders and parents to take several toddlers on public transport to North Finchley is simply not feasible. Closing Friern Barnet library will be depriving young children of a vital resource which aids development and is something that they love.”   



Sheri Darby, Holly Park Road N11, says:


“Friern Barnet Library occupies an almost unique position in the borough being within walking distance of 6 schools and one college, and therefore is of immense value to a wide range of people. Barnet Council has every right to be proud of the high academic standards achieved in this borough and the excellent local libraries provided are surely are a large contributory factor. I certainly remember my children researching projects at Friern Barnet Library regularly or just choosing books or dvds for leisure.


In these days when  parents work, a bus journey after school or an environmentally unfriendly car journey are just out of the question.


All that aside, our library is a warm friendly place, a far cry from the "Silence, Please" of yesteryear and is highly valued by everyone. It is also the closest we have to any community centre in Friern Barnet. In terms of expenditure, running costs are relatively small and the money can surely be saved elsewhere.”




 Alfred Rurangirwa, Holly Park Road N11, says:


“After school, it is our Library which helps to educate children: the service is wonderful. The ladies who run the library are the real Mums for the children like their teachers. The children feel at home and are very happy to have their library close to them. The ambience is wonderful: beautiful building with a green garden around, very clean and confortable inside, children meet other children there and do the same hobby: reading, internet, writing, enjoying listening nursery's songs and borrowing DVD, books, etc...

Friern Barnet Library not only helped me to educate my children but also it's there I rediscovered emotionally my ancient studies on Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Homer, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Seneca, all my notes had been burnt during the Rwanda genocide. 

Closing this library will be detrimental for pregnant women, mum with babies, old and retired people, single parents, disabled, schoolchildren, no vulnerable person will go to the new site, therefore their rights will be denied. Our Friern Barnet is for us and our children what our soul is to our body. Friern Barnet Vulnerable people have a right to culture!”