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Activists reopen occupied Friern Barnet library
01.01.70 | Benedicte Page
A library service has been resumed in the closed Friern Barnet Library after squatters took over the building.
The activists, who took over the library last week, have now opened the building to the public and are holding regular borrowing sessions, manually recording and stamping out the titles.
However, Barnet Council, despite entering into negotiations with the squatters over the possibility of them opening a volunteer-run facility at nearby Friary House in the borough, has now started eviction proceedings against them.
Council officials have visited the library to meet the eight-strong group of activists, and discuss setting up a community library. But in a statement, Barnet said: “The council is genuinely enthusiastic about any group proposing ideas to run a community library in Friary House. However, it is important that public assets are protected and we have now started the legal process to have the squatters removed, although this is not a quick process.
“We are continuing to have discussions in good faith about the possibility of the group opening a community library in Friary House. This is not connected to their occupation of the former Friern Barnet Library building.”
The library was originally closed in April this year, as the council looks to make savings in its budget. It plans to sell off the building and the land it stands on.