A group set up to represent the voice of young people in Barnet has called for better library services following a spate of cutbacks.

Barnet’s youth assembly backed the provision of more study spaces and communal areas in libraries and called for restrictions on the times during which youngsters can use them to be scrapped.

The assembly, which currently has 39 members, was set up three years ago to promote change on issues that affect young people.

Its motion to improve libraries was passed with eight votes in favour, none against and one abstention.

The youth assembly’s requests were discussed at a meeting of the children, education and safeguarding committee on Wednesday (June 6).

Cllr Nagus Narenthira, Labour member for Colindale, said the borough’s youngsters were “asking for more library services”.

She said: “They have got to find an adult available to take them to the library.

“We need to do more to let students use libraries. That is a key resource for them. They are asking for them, so something needs to be done.”

Austerity measures have led to cutbacks at the borough’s libraries meaning youngsters under 15 can only attend in staffed hours unless accompanied by an adult.

A campaign group, Save Barnet Libraries, has been protesting against this and a range of other reforms, including the council’s bid to find commercial partners to use empty library spaces.

But Chris Munday, the council’s strategic director of children and young people, called for some “myth-busting” on the topic of libraries.

He said: “It is difficult if we keep saying ‘this is not here’, because it suggests things are not here when they are.

“Libraries are there, young people are using them, there is an increase in satisfaction.

“I will make sure when we do the review we will be looking at how to continue to promote libraries in Barnet, because I am concerned that young people feel they can’t go to a library when they can.”

Officers also pointed out that a survey of the borough’s young people showed 76 per cent were satisfied with Barnet’s libraries in 2017 – up from 72 per cent in 2016.

The council officer’s response to the motion stated: “The council has transformed the library service. Young people can enter libraries with an adult at all times through the use of technology as can year 11 students.”