Six libraries could face closure under proposals to modernise the library network and save money.

The future of Barnet’s libraries will be discussed at the children’s, education, libraries and safeguarding committee next Tuesday.

A range of proposals have been laid out, which will help the committee make £8million of the £72 million the council needs to save over the next six years.

It has been recommended that the committee agree three proposals for the future of the service, which will then be put out to public consultation.

Following the consultation, a further report would be presented to the committee in January 2015.

Option one proposes keeping the same number of libraries open. The service would focus on four key libraries – Chipping Barnet, Hendon, and the new libraries in Church End and Colindale.

Other library buildings would be reduced in size, to around 540sq ft on average, and space would be let out for commercial use. The report states it is “likely” that a number of libraries would move.

Staff hours would be reduced to half of the current opening hours. However, more would be made of technology to keep libraries open outside staffed hours, including online ordering.

Option two suggests closing Burnt Oak, Childs Hill, Mill Hill, East Finchley, Osidge and South Friern libraries.

The remaining libraries would be staffed for 60 per cent of their current opening hours. Opening hours would also be increased, using technology to allow access from 7am to 10pm, outside staffed times.

A report prepared by the council ahead of the committee meeting states that at least 95 per cent of Barnet’s population would be able to access a library within 30 minutes of their home.

Option three suggests closing East Barnet and Childs Hill libraries, and offering East Finchley, Edgware, Mill Hill and South Friern libraries to be run by volunteers as ‘community libraries’. The space in each would be reduced, and the libraries could move.

Hendon, Burnt Oak, Chipping Barnet, Church End, Golders Green, Colindale, North Finchley and Oside libraries would be staffed for 50 per cent of the current opening hours. Opening hours would be increased through new technology from 7am to 10pm, outside staffed times.

Two new library buildings are currently planned in Grahame Park and Finchley Church End, as part of development projects.

Councillor Reuben Thompstone, chairman of the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee, said: “My own preference is option one which keeps the widest possible network but it will be up to the committee to decide after public consultation.

“Across London the model for providing library services is changing. Barnet currently has fewer volunteers than other comparable boroughs and I would like to see us improve in this area.”

Councillor Alison Moore, leader of Barnet's Labour group, said: "Inevitably there will be challenges. Most of them include quite significant cuts to libraries and space. 

"I think there are real problems with all of the options. Option two - travel hubs within 30 minutes - is optimistic. The cost of having to travel could well be a disincentive. Thirty minutes is a long distance. For ordinary people, that is a barrier to using libraries for those who need to use them."

What do you think of the proposed changes? Email reporter James Caven at