Friern Barnet Library: Re-opened by the community

Sep 26, 2012
Friern Barnet Library

Friern Barnet Library - closed by the council - has been re-opened by locals concerned to save a 'a vital hub for the community'

Barnet Council closed down a valued library in April. It caused real dismay among local people who had campaigned against the closure.

We decided we couldn’t give up – the library was too important. Such is the strength of feeling that a recent petition to re-open it has gathered nearly 3,000 signatures. A couple of weeks ago activists entered the building through an open window and occupied the place. This was fantastic because we have now been able to re-open the library for the community.

It is being run during the week by community librarians on a rota basis. I’m helping organise the issue desk and we’ve had great reaction from local people coming back in to take out books. Support is growing every day. 

Friern Barnet Library can still be a vital hub for the community – providing everything from benefit information to pilates classes to computer access to councillor surgeries, as well as offering warmth for the elderly struggling with heating bills and a safe, quiet place for kids to do their homework.

Council officials have been willing to talk to us, but the rooms they are offering in another building (almost two miles away) are simply not good enough.

We’re doing the best we can to reclaim the library, but we need to see proper council library services run by trained librarians. We can’t let our lovely public buildings like this be sold off and bulldozed by supermarkets. 

By Rosie Canning

For more information about the campaign, visit

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