A call for an update on how changes to the borough’s library services are affecting youngsters has been rejected by councillors.

Labour member for Coppetts Reema Patel called for a verbal update on the library service at a meeting of the community leadership and libraries committee last night (June 12).

Although a 12-month review into Barnet’s libraries is scheduled for March 2019, Labour councillors claimed the issue needed to be discussed at the next committee meeting in October.

It follows concerns that young people have not been able to use libraries for revision due to the removal of study spaces and restrictions on when they are able to enter.

Cllr Patel said: “It is outrageous for members of the ordinary public who are paying council tax money and expect a decent public service.

“We are asking for a verbal update on what the council is doing and how we can support students and young people in particular.

“We should not be forced into a trade off where people have to lose library services to support SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises].”

Labour member for Burnt Oak Sara Conway warned young people could have problems using libraries for revision for mock exams in December.

But chairman of the committee Cllr Reuben Thompstone explained that the libraries review had been scheduled for March to ensure accurate conclusions could be drawn.

He said: “When we have the review that is going to come in March, it is very helpful for members to have collected information to feed into that report so we can have a full picture.

“Part of the full picture is to ensure we have a full 12 months to have a comparison with what the library services is like at the end of that period, and over the duration of that period, rather than piecemeal at different stages throughout.”

The recommendation for an additional report to be produced in October was voted down by six votes to four.