Friern Barnet Library handed over to community

Handover of keys The council has agreed that the community group can take over the premises for the next two years

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A north London library where squatters opened a book-lending service has been handed to a group of residents to run.

The squatters moved into Friern Barnet Library in September after Barnet Council closed the building due to budget cuts in April and prepared to sell it off.

The squatters said more than 10,000 books were donated by locals.

The council has now agreed that the community group can take over the premises for the next two years.

The group represents various community organisations that wanted to save the library.

'Huge victory'

In December, a judge at Barnet County Court granted the local authority a possession order to evict the squatters to be enforced on 31 January.

Maureen Ivans, chairwoman of the Save Friern Barnet Library Group, said 7,000 people had signed the petition to reopen the library.

She said: "It's a huge victory for common sense.

"I haven't come across one person who said this library wasn't necessary.

"It's taken a two-year struggle to get them [the council] to change their mind."

Occupy London member Peter Phoenix, who was one of the squatters, said the group was now calling for a national debate on libraries and housing.

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