Campaigners raise thousands to challenge library cuts

Campaigners raise thousands to challenge library cuts

Campaigners in Barnet have raised over £2,800 in just one day in a bid to crowdfund the money needed to challenge library cuts.

The appeal, which was set up yesterday (30th November) has already surpassed its £2,400 goal and raised £2,895 with 131 backers.

The money is needed to pay for a solicitor to help with the first steps towards judicial review of the council's decisions.

Barnet Council is proposing to cut £2.27m - which is 50% of the existing library budget. The plans will see libraries kept open, but reduced in size, with four run by volunteers and 46% of staff cut. Opening hours will be increased through the use of technology and unstaffed hours, but staffed hours will be reduced.

On the appeal site, the campaigners said: “We seek to challenge the unfair way the council has proposed wholesale removal of staff from Barnet libraries, a step which, if taken, will unlawfully discriminate against the young, disabled, and other legally protected groups who will no longer have proper access to their local libraries.”

Cllr Reuben Thompstone, conservative chairman of the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee said about the proposals: “These are extremely important proposals which would see us maintain the same number of libraries as well as keep the home, mobile and digital services and increase access to libraries using new technology to extend opening hours.

“I believe these proposals reflect just how much people clearly value our libraries while balancing the need for the council to make savings across its services.”

A second public consultation into the future of the borough’s libraries is currently underway, Times Series has reported.

In September, campaigners marched through Barnet to protest library cuts.