Barnet Borough Council’s library closure consultation has been subject to heavy criticism since it was launched.

The second option put forward, to save £73.5m, includes closing Mill Hill Library but creating a network of eight libraries across the borough.

Councillors say that if this option was passed, at least 95 per cent of Barnet’s population would be able to get to a library within 30 minutes by public transport.

We put this to the test by travelling from Mill Hill Library to Hendon Library, in Church End...

It is bitingly cold as I meet John Gillett, the chairman of Mill Hill Residents Forum, Philippa Welch, 76, and Ariella Lister and her three-year-old Grandson, Samuel.

Mrs Welch, a former volunteer at Mill Hill Library herself, has already had a 15-minute walk from her home in Sunnyfield Road by the time she arrives to meet us.

2.09pm: We set off by walking under the subway at the top of Hartley Avenue, with Mrs Lister weaving little Samuel’s pushchair through the steep ramps.

By some miracle it is not raining and there is no ice on the road so our walk to catch the 113 from Watford Way is pretty effortless. We arrived in less than three minutes.

“We’ve been lucky today, but pushing past a pushchair through rain or ice is tricky and can really add to the journey”, Mrs Lister says.

2.12pm: The gods really were on our side, for the moment we arrived at the bus stop it arrived. They are scheduled to come once every ten to 11 minutes.

Wheelchairs always get priority, and only one pushchair is allowed per trip, especially during peak times.

Mrs Lister kneels down and begins to fumble with the clasp on Samuel’s pushchair and hauls him into her arms, rousing him from his sleep. He begins to shriek.

Although we had decided not to help – we wanted to portray just how difficult it would be for a lone parent travelling alone – Mr Gillett could not resist folding the pushchair and carrying it for her.

“It’s ridiculous to have to go through all this just to go to your local library”, he said.

2.22pm: We had chosen to catch the bus just before the rush hour traffic began, so our journey was quick and we arrived at St Joseph’s Grove in ample time.

Safely heaving the pushchair from the bus onto the pavement is a three-man job and soon we are on our way.

“I am comfortable walking long distances, but I can see how others who aren’t as fast on foot or have a walking stick might struggle, so it will take longer”, says Mrs Welch.

2.28pm: We finally reached Church End, in Hendon, in just 20 minutes – that’s ten minutes under what Barnet Borough Council said it would be.

But when we arrived inside the library for a quick cup of tea, the seating area was busy and we struggled to find anywhere to perch.

Our trip home took slightly longer – but we still got there in 28 minutes, with two minutes to spare.

In a statement, council leader Richard Cornelius said: “The consultation continues and we still encourage people to respond with their suggestions. We will have to look very carefully at the service as a whole and in each area.

“All consultation options do, though, deliver longer overall opening hours and ensure 95 per cent of residents retain access to their library within 30 minutes by public transport.

“We are pledged to having a comprehensive service that is fit for the 21st century user, whilst delivering some of the necessary savings.”