Our libraries were developed on the principle of providing the public with literature and information at a time when this was the only means of accessing it.

As times have changed, like everything else, our library service must adapt to make sure we continue to meet the growing needs and expectations of our customers.

For this reason we are launching a consultation which I hope your readers will take part in, giving us their views on how their library service should be run in the future.

I understand we are running this consultation at a time when we need to make savings, but I don’t simply want to provide the same service for 20 per cent less money.

Instead, I want the service to continue to improve and move forwards.

Over the years, our libraries have been successful because we haven’t been frightened of change.

We’ve been able to buck the national trend of declining visits because of innovative ideas such as e-books and online reference materials. The country’s largest bookseller and biggest DVD lender, for example, do not have a high street presence, but still offer new products and great customer service.

I’m sure there are things we can learn from them.

This is an important process and I hope to hear from not only active library users, but also those residents who don’t use the service. People can take part in the survey at www.barnet.gov.uk/libraries-survey

Councillor Robert Rams, Barnet Council cabinet member for partnerships and access