Tears were shed as campaigners said a fond farewell to Friern Barnet Library today.

Demonstrating their annoyance with Barnet Council for agreeing to shut the library, 16 supporters of Save Friern Barnet Library Group staged a five-hour-long sit-in.

Protesters refused to leave the library when the doors were locked shut at 1pm. Cabinet agreed to close the facility at 4pm but a council spokesman said it was brought forward due to the sit-in.

Eight-year-old Maud Quinton was left upset because she was unable to give librarians the poem and letter she had written to them.

In her letter she said: “I love books and it’ll be a real shame that the library won’t be with us anymore.”

Dozens of supporters gathered outside the building holding placards and waved to drivers who tooted their horns in support. They were also on hand to post pizzas, tea and water through the library windows when the council turned off the electricity and water.

But after sitting tight for more than five hours the protesters decided to leave the building. As they walked out one by one shortly before 6pm they were met with cheers and claps.

Addressing the crowds, Maureen Ivens, said: “The idea today was to convey our message to “We want our local libraries and we want our local services.”

Emerging from the building, Sheri Darby said: “It hurts, it really hurts. I’m pretty close to tears and probably will be every time I go past here. It’s not just a library, it represents culture and civilisation. Closing it is depriving people of their cultural heritage.”