BRENT Council sounded the death knell on six libraries last night when it voted to slash £42 million from it's budget next year.
Campaigners from organisations across the borough rallied and sang protest songs before the budget setting meeting calling on Brent Council to protect their services.
The atmosphere soon turned sour when police, blocking the doors to the Town Hall, began stopping demonstrators getting in.
Protesters were forced to storm the building via a side entrance before the first 50, armed with placards, packed into the public gallery.
Shouts of 'what do we pay our council tax for?' and 'don't do the Tories work' rang out around the council chamber as Councillor Ann John OBE, leader of Brent Council laid out the Labour administration's plans in what is being described as the council's toughest budget ever.
"Not since the the poll tax has the nation's attention been turned so acutely on what council's are doing," she said as protesters locked outside could be heard chanting.
"We have looked at every aspect of what we do, from top to bottom, and balanced what is fair with what can be achieved. We cannot afford to keep all 12 libraries open and deliver a balanced budget. However, the libraries that remain will be better stocked, better appointed, have better IT and will be open much longer for seven days a week."
Despite the likelihood that half the borough's libraries will close unless community groups take them over, there were some U-turns which raised cheers.
Three youth clubs threatened with closure will now be saved, Brent Citizens' Advice Centre and Brent Law Centre will continue to receive funding and a much-loved environmental education centre in Welsh Harp will remain open.
But a further 400 members of staff are likely to be made redundant to help balance the budget.
Ms John said: "We are streamlining our operations, looking at new ways to deliver services, becoming more customer focused and cutting costs. We have been doing this since well before the cuts were announced and we are ahead of the game."
As well redundancies, park wardens, a portage service which cares for children with special needs and day care centres for people with learning difficulties will be axed. The consultation into the closure libraries finishes on Friday (March 4).
Watch a video the anti-library cuts protest at Brent Council