Campaigners against changes to Barnet libraries fear people won't realise what they have got until it gone.

Barnet Council has recently appointed a new contractor to handle £150 million’s worth of major projects that will include new schools, leisure and community centres.

Martin Parker, 62, has lived in Finchley for six years and asks why this money isn't being spent on library services.

Mr Parker said: “The Church End library in Hendon Lane, is between my house and the shops and the bank, it is easy for me to pop in.

“It is shocking to see what Barnet Council is planning for the libraries. If they can get rid of the library in Hendon, which is also within walking distance for me, they can get of anything.

“These plans are done in the dark, and they spring them on the public at the last minute, when the plans are already made.

“People do not realise how valuable the libraries are, whether they use them or not. People do not realise until it is too late, and they’re gone. Once the services are gone, that's it.

Barnet’s UNISON members fought against library cuts by going on strike in June, following the decision to approve the cuts in April this year.

Library workers went on the picket line to fight the council plans to cut £2.85million form the service.

Changes made in April include creating unstaffed libraries, additional CCTV cameras, meaning children under 15-years-old are banned from visiting the libraries unattended.

A series of information sessions on the changes to Barnet libraries has begun, and a small crowd gathered at north Finchley library this morning (October 25).

Library campaigner Bob Jacobson said: “It is so typical that they are holding this meeting in the library, when it is filled with people working on the computers.

“I thought they would hold this session in a room, it is disrespectful to what a library is. This is just a way to make or save money.”

Changes to north Finchley library include reducing the number of staffed hours, and four rooms on the ground floor will be available to let by businesses or volunteer run groups.

The opening hours have increased by 10, two new WC facilities will be built as well as a new lift.

Bob’s wife and fellow member of Barbara Jacobson asked: “It has been two years since people have been asking what is going on with the libraries. You should have a plan. If you do not find volunteers to run the libraries, then it will fail.”

Councillor Reuben Thompstone, the chair of the children, educations, libraries and safeguarding committee, said: "Libraries are at the heart of our communities in Barnet and the public consultation demonstrated a clear desire to keep all of our libraries open.

"We have listened to those who live, work and study in the borough throughout the process and have agreed plans that will enable us to deliver a cost effective, modern service that retains all 14 libraries, including building two brand new sites, and maintain the mobile and digital services.

"These information sessions have been designed to give the public an opportunity to find out how their local library will be changing."

The information sessions have begun, and will continue to take place across Barnet libraries this autumn. Here is where the sessions will run:

October 26:

East Barnet – 2.30-4.30pm

Chipping Barnet – 6-8pm

November 3:

Burnt Oak – 2-4pm

Hendon - 6-8pm

November 4:

Edgware – 11-1pm

Mill Hill – 3-5pm

November 9:

South Friern – 11-1pm

East Finchley – 6-8pm

November 10:

Golders Green – 12-2pm

Childs Hill – 4-6pm