Parents and children gathered ressed as thieves to show how they have been "robbed" of library services.

The Save Barnet Libaries group gathered concerned parents and children on World Book Day on Thursday to protest against the changes to library services.

The group say only 9 per cent of library users previously signed up to the service have taken it up since changes introduced unstaffed hours, meaning users would require a pin code to acess facilities.

The new system has been controversial, with the group saying children can not have as much access as previously due to their requiring a parent or guardian if under 16.

A survey conducted by the group also shows that 60 per cent of those responding say their children attend the library less often.

Woody Cleasby, aged five, attended the protest at East Finchley library dressed as Dennis the Menace.

He said: "It's really bad. We used to go to te libary all the time but now it's too hard to get inside.

"We loved our library because it was full of books that are adventures.

"It makes me really sad that we can't get stories like we used to."

Emily Burnham of Save Barnet Libraries said: "Children gathered outside East Finchley library on World Book Day to demand their right to access public libraries.

"Save Barnet Libraries has submitted detailed evidence to the Culture Minister about the mipactof these cuts which, shamefully, the council does not appear to be monitoring."

The group has put forward a case to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, as they fear the new system does not provide them the library service outlined in the 1964 PUblic Libraries and Museums Act, which should be available to all.

Cllr Reuben Thompstone, chairman of Barnet Council's children, educaiton, libraries and safeguarding committee, said: "We consulted extensively with residents and have redesigned a library service which has allowed us to keep open all of the borough's 14 libraries - two of which are brand new library buildings.

"We have also been able to maintain our home, mobile and digital library resources.

"Though we have changed the number of staffed hours our libaries are open, we will be increasing the number of hours our residents can access our libraries each week.

"There has been a very positive uptake for self-service opening hours, with more than 17,000 people already signed up."

According to Save Barnet Libraries, there were 187,000 library users registered before the changes came into place, 55,000 of whom were children.