Search

East Finchley schoolchildren take to Whitehall to protest against culture secretary’s cuts to Barnet library services

PUBLISHED: 16:51 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:51 26 July 2017

Protesters from Barnet Libraries outside the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport at 100 Parliament St SW1 on 24.07.17. They had come to hand over letters and postcards written by children at Martin Primary School on why they want to keep the libraries open and why the libraries are important to them.

Protesters from Barnet Libraries outside the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport at 100 Parliament St SW1 on 24.07.17. They had come to hand over letters and postcards written by children at Martin Primary School on why they want to keep the libraries open and why the libraries are important to them.

Archant

East Finchley schoolchildren descended on Whitehall to protest against their loss of access to libraries in Barnet borough.

Sixteen children aged 5-13 from several schools set up their demonstration outside the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on Parliament Street on Monday afternoon. They brought with them postcards addressed to the culture secretary, Karen Bradley, calling on her to reverse the cuts that have dramatically reduced the number of hours that Barnet libraries are staffed. Their placards attracted the keen interest of passing tourists, though not Ms Bradley, who was unavailable to meet the young protesters.

They were instead met by libraries policy staff member Colin Gibson, who came out to receive the postcards. Mr Gibson acknowledged the delay in responding to the concerns but was unable to state when a response from the secretary of state would be forthcoming.

“When the man from DCMS came down to see us, he seemed very nervous,” said protester Fergus Lyon, 10, from Martin Primary School in East Finchley.

“I hope they see where they’ve gone wrong. How can they shut kids out and lock the toilets?”

Organiser Emily Burnham, a mother of three boys at Martin primary and Archer Academy and a member of the Save Barnet Libraries campaign, said the culture secretary had a statutory duty to ensure access to libraries. “Libraries from now on will be staffed a maximum of 15 hours a week – that’s not enough,” she told the Ham&High.

Ms Burnham said a ‘lengthy and comprehensive’ letter detailing the campaign’s objections to planned library changes had been sent to the culture secretary in December 2016, with a copy also sent to Barnet Council.

Martin pupil Zara Lobley, 11, said: “It’s like our views don’t matter. We will be blocked from using our library most of the time; some of us are starting secondary school in September and we really need independent access!”

Barnet councillor Reuben Thompstone, chairman of the education and libraries committee, said: “We have redesigned our library service to allow us to keep all 14 libraries in the borough open. During staffed hours, there is no change to the way children can access libraries and children can make use of the new extended opening hours when accompanied by an adult.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

16:20

Camden’s planners have recommended approving the controversial building of an eruv – a Jewish boundary that allows for several exceptions to Shabbat laws – around the borough.

15:39

Camden Council has written to the Government in protest at how difficult it is to block planning applications for the new “unwanted” phone boxes that are telecoms companies are erecting around the borough.

A murder investigation has been launched after a 25-year-old man was stabbed to death in Tufnell Park last night.

Yesterday, 16:03

A man has appeared in court over a hit and run crash which killed Camden man Richard Dougherty last month.

Yesterday, 10:26

“Today’s ruling [...] focuses on procedure rather than the merits of the scheme.”

Yesterday, 10:24

A cycling campaigner has blamed CS11’s legal defeat on Transport for London’s “watering down” of the project – and said it is time for London mayor Sadiq Khan to “improve his politics game”.

Yesterday, 09:18

Westminster North MP Karen Buck joined parents and children to protest the sudden closure of Queen’s Park Nursery.

Yesterday, 08:07

Campaigners from Greenpeace staged a protest outside the Camden High Street Marks and Spencer on Saturday to urge the high street giant to crack down on its use of single-use plastic.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now