CAMPAIGNERS say an IT glitch which has stopped people from renewing books at libraries is a “sign of things to come”.

Barnet Council’s library service, Vubis, crashed nearly two weeks ago during an update which has taken the online catalogue and the e-library system offline.

Children cannot access the computers and the authority is also losing up to £200 a day in fines.

But as councillors prepare to make cutbacks to libraries in the borough, including leaving some unstaffed, people have reacted furiously to this news.

Library campaigner Richard Logue, who lives in Mill Hill, said: “This shows the council need to get back to the drawing board and think about what’s best for the community.

“Instead, they are stuck on the ideology of closing everything down to save a few pounds. If this is what it’s like how, imagine what it will be like then?”

Under plans, which are expected to save £2.27million by 2020, all 14 libraries will remain open, and hours will be extended through technology and leaving buildings unstaffed.

Mother-of-three Lianne Kolirin regularly takes her boys to libraries across the borough.

But the glitch has meant she is unable to check the online catalogue to see which books are available where.

She said: “I know it’s not critical, nobody has died from it and it’s not a major issue but it’s just such a shame. Last week I thought, is this the state of things to come with libraries?

“Every time I try and check something out it says I have zero items – but that isn’t right. It is quite frustrating.

“Nobody knows what’s going on. I ask the staff but they shrug their shoulders and say they hope it will be back up and running soon.”

Speaking about plans to cut libraries, she said: “They are so invaluable and it would be such a shame if such an amazing community resource was to go under.

“Sadly, it looks like it’s heading that way.”

Barnet libraries spokesperson, Cllr Anne Hutton, said: “This is totally unacceptable, given that the Barnet Tories want to leave our libraries unstaffed and rely on this technology to prop up the service, it beggars belief that the system would collapse like this.

"It shows that the council must rethink their plans.”

Cllr Reuben Thompstone, chairman of the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee, said: “We are currently fully focussed on restoring all elements of the library service to residents.

"We are of course working to determine the cause of the failure and what lessons can be learned, and steps are being taken to make the system more robust for the future, but our top priority at the moment is getting the service fully up and running.

"In the meantime, our libraries remain open and people are still able to borrow books as normal.”