THREE of the borough’s libraries are still under threat from closure after councillors approved controversial plans last night.

After agreeing to planned closures of Friern Barnet, Hampstead Garden Suburb and North Finchley libraries, Cabinet members threw a lifeline to campaigners desperate to save their “community hubs”.

Residents have until October 31 to come up with “community initiatives” to run their libraries more efficiently.

The new Library Strategy Review aims to spend £10,000 per year on more books, offer longer library opening hours and better online services.

The council also plans to raise around £3million from selling-off library buildings in order to launch other facilities including a new library in artsdepot in Nether Street, North Finchley.

The book collection at Hampstead Garden Suburb would also move to The Institute, near East Finchley Tube Station, where a self-service machine would be installed.

However, dozens of residents turned out to last night’s Cabinet meeting in a desperate bid to prove their local libraries are “perfect” just the way they are.

Ten-year-old Hannah Andrusier told councillors how she and her twin brother Oscar visit their local library every week after school.

She warned if the closure plans went ahead, it would not be safe or viable for children to get to a library in the artsdepot.

Hannah said: “I go to the library to read, meet friends and to make new friends from different schools and do things like reading to little ones.

“I don’t think you realise Friern Barnet is our special community place.”

Councillor Robert Rams, Cabinet member for customer access and partnerships, focused on the strategy’s aim to improve reading, literacy and learning opportunities for children and said the new plans would bring libraries into the 21st century.

But disapproving heckles could be heard around the room when Cabinet member for resources and performance, Daniel Thomas said the new libraries would be full of “bells and whistles”.

The Cabinet said libraries will not close before residents have a chance to make their case before October 31, although the council will continue its talks with artsdepot.