An 11-year-old has begged councillors to think again and save libraries over fears he will lose his independence if cuts take place.

Heval Kartal was one of many speakers to address Barnet Council's library committee last night.

The Fortismere School pupil said if cuts were to go ahead, he and his little sister will not be able to visit the library without an adult.

The authority is considering turning some libraries into 'unstaffed' hubs, which will not have toilets and people under the age of 16 will not be allowed to go alone.

He said: “We are privileged to have a library so close to our home, but where will children be able to study now?

“Most children under 11 or 10 cannot take the bus by themselves. If children do not have a place to go to study, this will effect on their exam results.

“My younger sister and I visit the library and we really rely on library staff to help us. If you shut down the library we could not take out books to read, is that really what you want?”

Committee members asked Havel whether he could use his school's library but he expalined hours have been cut and he cannot use it at weekends.

Keith Martin, campaigner and author of ‘Friern Barnet – the library that refused to close’ said: “To achieve the withdrawal of the current suicidal library plans, the Save Barnet Libraries campaign must persevere with its pressure.

“It was obvious to the councillors that there is a strong local groundswell of support for the library services.

“This was made clear by the demo outside the Town Hall, the support in the public section of the committee room and the impassioned addresses by residents representing children, adults and disabled library users.”

Mother of three and East Finchley campaigner, Emily Burnham, lead last night’s protest outside Hendon town hall before the meeting started.

Protesters of all ages chanted ‘Don’t shut us out, it makes us want to shout’ minutes before the meeting began.

Ms Burnham said: “We put a good case across, and I think the speakers covered a lot of issues.

“Some councillors are obviously worried and concerned, and it was nice to see that last night.

“It’s quite shocking they think it will work when they are not confident about the I.T system.”

The proposed reductions in staffed opening hours have been published, they are as folows: 

In Chipping Barnet, Edgware, Church End and Grahame Park, the library hours have been reduced to 23.5 a week.

Libraries in Burnt Oak, Golders Green, North Finchley and Osidge in East Barnet will be open 15.5 hours a week.

The East Finchley and Hendon libraries will be open just 16 hours a week, and the East Barnet, Mill Hill, South Friern and Childs Hill libraries will be open 15 hours a week.

The issue will be discussed again as councillors voted to send it to a full council meeting on April 4.