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Feb 4th, 2013

Great News: Friern Barnet Library has been saved!

By clea.g

We’ve just heard that 38 Degrees members have helped save Friern Barnet Library from closure!

Last April, Barnet Council closed the library because of cuts to their budget. Barnet Council had planned to sell off the library in order to try and create funds, but because of the huge public opposition they faced that won’t be happening!

After Barnet Council closed the library, Occupy London activists occupied it in early September and, with thousands of book donations, re-opened it for the community. In response to this, Barnet Council started eviction proceedings against the Occupy activists, which encouraged 38 Degrees member Rosie to start her petition on Campaigns By You to re-open Friern Barnet library.

The library has been a vital hub for the community since 1934 – providing everything from personal finance advice and pilates classes to computer access for those who can’t afford their own. Offering warmth for the elderly who are struggling with heating bills and providing a safe quiet place for local children to do their homework, it was essential to try and keep the library open.

Thanks to Barnet council’s own rules, they had to hold a debate on the library’s future if the petition reached over 4,000 signatures, which it did!

The control of the library has now been handed over to the newly formed Friern Barnet Community Library, whose board of nine trustees comprises members of the local community who have involved with the project from the start!

38 Degrees member and petition starter Roise has this to say:

“This is a fantastic victory for the residents of Friern Barnet. They can at last be assured that the lovely Friern Barnet Community Library is saved. Local residents were very surprised by the councils u-turn from wanting to bulldoze the library into giving local residents a two-year licence.

This is also a major victory for Occupy who initially negotiated with the London Borough of Barnet to get locals a licence and who as well as campaigning to get the library re-opened were also protesting over the recent change in law that prevented people from squatting in residential buildings.

We are still hoping that the council will give enough money for a paid librarian and look forward to a grand opening when all the children from local schools will be invited to re-join the library.

Our win is not just about a local library but about the national campaign to save libraries throughout the UK. We’d like to thank 38 Degrees for their fantastic support.”

This is another great example of people getting together to create positive change!

The petition that helped to keep Friern Barnet Library open was started by 38 Degrees member Rosie on the new ‘Campaigns by You’ part of the 38 Degrees site. ‘Campaigns by You’ lets anyone set up and run their own campaigns on any issue they want – big or small, local or national. Click here to find out more or start a petition: http://you.38degrees.org.uk

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