Library campaigners are urging Barnet’s Conservative councillors to back calls to stop cuts to the service.

A public consultation into £2.85m cuts to Barnet Borough Council’s libraries ended on Sunday.

Options included closing libraries, making them smaller or leaving them unstaffed by using volunteers.

More than 2,000 people responded, and the authority’s opposition Labour councillors have put forward a motion to be debated at a full council meeting next week to re-consult residents on different options.

In an open letter to the Conservative councillors, library campaigners from across the borough emphasised the “traditional Conservative values” of the service, and warned cuts would damage the chances of “budding entrepreneurs”.

The letter states that libraries “offer a place of warmth and compassion for all ages in the community and allow the self-determination of today's students in reaching their goals.”

The campaigners conclude that voting for the Labour motion would not “signal defeat”, but give a chance to find other ways to fund the service.

Conservative councillor Reuben Thompstone, chairman of the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee, previously said: “No savings are being made to libraries this year and no decisions on the future shape of the service will be taken until the feedback has been analysed and used to inform refined plans, which would then be fully discussed.

“We have always been clear that we are keen to hear alternative suggestions and the consultation was this opportunity.”

The letter is published below.

Open letter to the Conservative Administration on Barnet Council

Dear councillors

Barnet libraries offer a vital resource to all residents - namely the possibility of self improvement.

They meet many needs: the desire of the uneducated to educate themselves, the aspiration of parents that their children improve on what their own generation has achieved, the ambitions of a low-paid worker who studies to gain qualifications. Libraries are a vital resource for the jobless person who needs a library in order to apply for work and immigrants who may need to study English in order to be successful and bring prosperity to their adopted home. Libraries offer a place of warmth and compassion for all ages in the community and allow the self-determination of today's students in reaching their goals.

These aims and aspirations reflect traditional Conservative values. To cut our service will damage the chances of budding entrepreneurs; the very people we need to deliver a strong and prosperous Britain.

So we urge you to reconsider the substantial cuts embodied in the recently finished consultation. There are alternatives. Please consider voting for the opposition motion that calls for a suspension of the consultation in order to take a fresh look at the possibilities for an enhanced service with more creative uses of the library buildings we have. A vote for the motion does not signal defeat, rather an opportunity to investigate alternative funding streams, through local businesses, charities or national government, to allow the continued support for these vital services.

Residents across Barnet have told us repeatedly that they value and cherish their local library. We hope that you will use your office to reflect their wishes and protect this much loved institution.

Yours faithfully

Anne Clarke, Save Childs Hill and Golders Green Library Group

Rami Shah and Rita Atri, Osidge/East Barnet Library User Group

Alasdair Hill and Richard Logue, Mill Hill Residents’ Association

Nicole Burstein, Save Barnet Libraries Joanna Witt, Polly Napper and Adam Gee, East Finchley Library Users Group