So given that it is so wet we have managed not to go and support the library workers strike, the spring walk has been cancelled and so has the star gazing evening.

So that leaves me with big kids to get to Newport for swimming, cinema and shopping, and a tired and tummy achey Jonathan and the Save the Library Rally and general Stop the Cuts thing in Newport.

So we get back from dropping off big kids and Jonathan is a bit pathetic! So we settle down with duvets on our slouch and listen to Monday’s episode of Big Toe Books. Jonathan listens and does his Nature Detectives bird word search and I drop off! Then he is still drippy so sits and watches 3 episodes of Blue Peter back to back. At some point in the proceedings we have managed to get some soup down us.

Then we head off to the library to support the strikers stopping on the way to look at the bracket fungi on a tree stump.

We headed down to County Hall to join with the people making general protests about the cuts.

I liked the Pugh Porta Loo

Little Bo Pugh leading his sheeply conservative counsellors - they block vote on everything.

Some supporters thought a dictionary borrowed from the library might have helped this banner!

the wonderful Mick Watson

Mick ended the meeting with his wonderful song “Long Walk To Newport” hear it on the Ventnor Blog.

My plan had been we’d head out to Ventnor and pick up chips to eat on the Downs watching the stars with friends – instead, because of the weather, we went home and had fishfinger sandwiches with baked beans or peas and finished off with tinned peaches – really posh nosh at our house tonight!

Bins out, living room tidied, Jonathan off to bed, tent semi erected in the living room. And relax!

I had a friend round to help with some plumbing recently and managed to get drawn into his latest scheme. It’s a good one though, because it involves action to help save our libraries. If you have missed all the local and national media coverage of Island library closures, the Isle of Wight Council are threatening to close down 82% of Island libraries. We will be left with 2.

This is a short sighted action with long term consequences and I for one am keen to see it stopped. We should be celebrating our libraries, making them better, not closing them. These aren’t just novel-lending facilities – a Blockbuster for books – these are vital multi-use community facilities, serving needs from helping children learn to read to helping unemployed people find work, from ensuring lonely people still have some interactions with people to facilitating important research. And much more besides. Plus they lend lots of novels too, which is also great (before I get walloped by one of my family, just ‘cos I don’t read novels much).

So, the campaign idea is simple (but with a twist as Dan Roberts is involved!). If you live on the Isle of Wight and don’t want to see your libraries closed then make sure your elected representative knows how strongly you feel. If you feel strongly enough about it not to vote for them again if they vote to close your library then tell them. And if you’ve done that, why not go a stage further and tell them you will campaign against them. If you are prepared to do so, sign a pledge to that effect so they will know. Campaigning against them could mean a range of things, from suggesting to friends and neighbours that they don’t vote for them (reminding them of the councillors history) to standing as an independent candidate.

So, Dan decided to issue pledges. Being who he is, he hand-built a printing press to produce pledges for people to sign. You can read all about it on the VentnorBlog. Even Dan could see the shortcomings of his device though, in that many more people would want to sign than he could produce pledges for. So, we have cooked up a little website. It’s quite simple, and provides an easy mechanism for you to sign the pledge. So why not take a look, and join our campaign? Help ensure our councillors know they will be called to account if they axe our libraries.

http://www.cutsbothways.org.uk

the council want to close nine of our 11 libraries. In protest many people on the Isle of Wight decided to empty the two libraries they want to leave – to show how two libraries will not cope with demand from the whole island. So people were encouraged to remove 30 books each (the max allowed on their cards).

Here’s Rebekah with her big stack of books:

The girl’s are busy getting ready for an early dash to the library this morning. They are determined to get to the library for opening time in order to be the first on the “Reading Challenge” list. No pressure from the parents, they just like reading and like the library. Oh, and Rebekah in particular likes certificates and competitions! Why am I blogging this? Well, first off I’m rather proud of my girls, they are engaged with reading and use of the library in a way their father cannot comprehend (I think I have taken books out of the library once in the last seven years). But I also want to make a point about learning to read. Rebekah could read by four and a half. Ruth was reading by age nine. Both read and read and read now. Jonathan has more or less split the difference, reading at seven. This is completely normal, cbhildren just don’t adhere to averages. Unfortunately the Badman Review suggests all chidlren should eb able to read by 8. So Ruth would have been condemned as a failure under the proposed new system, and possibly returned to school, against her will and ours. So please Badman, Balls et. al. listen to the home educating families who are the experts in home education, not a load of self appointed “education experts” from schools, local authorities, and “safeguarding” organisations. If you have no idea what I’m on about, take a look around the blog. Or don’t, but do give kids a little slack if they start reading later than a mythical “normal” time.

ruthRebekah