An author said libraries were "a lifeline" for many families at a march through Barnet to oppose cuts to the service.

Caroline Green, who writes fiction for teenagers, joined the march yesterday from Hendon to Childs Hill, via Golders Green yesterday, organised by the Save Barnet Libraries group.

Barnet Borough Council is planning to make £2.85m cuts to the borough’s libraries, with proposals including closing libraries, reducing them in size or using volunteers to run the service.

Ms Green, who lives in Enfield and is a writer in residence at East Barnet School, said: “They are not just about books, they are an essential part of the community. I just don’t think you can put a value on the importance of libraries. The least advantaged people in society need them.”

Speaking outside Golders Green library, Ms Green said libraries had provided her with a “gateway” to a passion for reading that has stayed with her all her life.

She said: “The truth is that libraries are a lifeline for many families. They provide a wealth of books that many children simply can not get at home.

"If libraries are closed down, or only open on certain days, run by a skeleton staff, where do those people go? Where does the child who has nothing left to read go, or the student who needs a quiet place to study?

"What about the elderly person who hasn’t had any other social contact in 24 hours, or the young mum who needs a way to entertain a bored toddler without paying an arm and a leg to do so?

"Libraries are not just places where you can borrow books. They are at the heart of communities and for some they are a haven and a sanctuary."

Speeches were also made at Hendon library by Green parliamentary candidate Ben Samuel, Labour London Assembly member and parliamentary candidate Andrew Dismore and Liberal Democrat candidate Alasdair Hill.

The Green Party’s candidate Adele Ward also spoke at Golders Green library, while Labour’s Sarah Sackman spoke at Childs Hill library.

A report on the future of the service is due to come back to Barnet Council's children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee in the summer.

Further marches will take place:

- Saturday, April 25 11am: Chipping Barnet Library to Osidge via East Barnet

- Saturday, May 9 11am: South Friern to North Finchley via East Finchley