Campaigners say Barnet council should go back to the drawing board as almost all library users say they oppose the potential closures.

As libraries are packed with children completing a summer reading challenge, Barnet council has released its results of the recent consultation into the possibility of closing up to six libraries in the borough.

More than 3,800 people submitted their opinions during the course of the survey, which cost £200,000 and ran from November 15 to February 22.

Options considered included increasing the use of volunteers, establishing community-run libraries and closing some services.

Views were collected by questionnaires, focus groups, drop-in sessions and consultation events as well as residents being able to submit their own opinions on what an alternative service would look like.

Results, released last week, revealed that 97 per cent said they oppose closing six libraries in the borough and 92 per cent oppose closing even two of them.

Alasdair Hill, who started a Save Barnet Libraries petition that gained more than 10,000 signatures, said: “The closures would be catastrophic to Barnet as a whole as well as its library users.

“Ignoring the overwhelming public support would be an affront to local democracy.”

Richard Logue, the chairman of Mill Hill Residents Association who is also involved with the Save Barnet Libraries Campaign, said: “I think this is a wake-up call to the council that people won’t take the basic three options and they really will have to go back to the drawing board and not to close off this much-needed amenity.”

Barnet currently has a higher proportion of children in comparison to London and UK averages and members of the community say they have been left bewildered as to why they are cutting 60 percent of library services as that number is set to rise.

The number of children using the library and the borrowing of children fiction books is up by 20 per cent, and the survey results show that 99 per cent of people think libraries should be able to provide learning opportunities.

Mother-of-two Mary Beer-Cleasby, a regular library user, said: “Did it need to cost £200,000 to find out that 99 per cent of the community want a library service to provide children and adults with reading, literacy and learning opportunities?

“The fact that all the libraries threatened with closure have been experiencing an average of 20 per cent increase in children’s fiction borrowing should be something we treasure and look to expand.”

Over the next five years, Barnet council will need to continue make cuts across all services - including libraries – to meet an overall budget gap of £98.4 million.

Save Barnet Libraries calls for people to join their Children’s March for Libraries on Saturday September 12 starting at East Finchley Library at 10.15am.