CAMPAIGNERS will march through the streets of Barnet next week ahead of a crucial vote on the future of the borough’s libraries.

The children’s march for libraries will see supporters, including BAFTA award-winning actress Rebecca Front, take to the streets on Saturday, September 12 to protest about Barnet Council’s £2.85m worth of cuts to the library service.

Starting at East Finchley Library at 10.15am, the marchers will head to Church End Library, where they will be joined by a brass band, before ending at North Finchley Library.

The march comes ahead of a meeting on Monday, September 21 at Hendon Town Hall, where councillors will discuss proposals that could see libraries shrunk, axed or run by volunteers.

Rebecca Front said: “It's a pretty obvious equation to me. Children reading books is a good thing.

"Children being denied free access to books is therefore a bad thing and needs to be stopped in Barnet or wherever it's happening.”

Ralph Vincent, a ten-year-old pupil at All Saints CE Primary School in Whetstone, said: “You may have heard that libraries are closing and I dearly do not want for this to happen.

“I really like libraries because you can read books you want to read for free. Books are humongously important to me.”

Over the next five years, the authority faces an overall budget gap of £98.4m, with the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee (CELS) expected to make cuts of £17.9m, which includes the £2.85m library cuts.

Councillor Reuben Thompstone, chairman of CELS, said: “Listening to what our residents are saying, we are exploring ways to keep the same number of libraries across the borough, whilst reducing the overall cost of the service.

“To do this the library service will need to change and adapt, meaning it could end up looking significantly different from how it is today.”