Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library news

By Kathryn Johnson

Friends celebrate local essayists

The Friends of the Allied Gardens/Benjamin library coordinated the local 20th annual Student Essay Contest at the branch. The contest was open to all students in fourth, eighth and 10th grades who are served by the San Diego Public Library. This year’s contest had 171 entries that the Friends group read through and discussed before selecting the winners.

(l to r) front row: Kyle Doan, Alexandria Hulse, Gavin Zavala, Sophia Damato; back row: Maria Dominguez, Charlotte Collins, John Savvides, Diego Florence. (Courtesy of Allied Gardens/Benjamin Brach Library)

St. Therese Academy, Hearst Elementary, Nazareth School and Foster Elementary all participated. The winners are:

  • Fourth grade — Charlotte Collins, from Ms. Eides class at Hearst Elementary; Sophia Damato, from Ms. Ascroft’s class at St. Therese; Kyle Doan, from Ms. Grindstaff’s class at Hearst Elementary; Alexandria Hulse from Ms. Paquette’s class at Nazareth School; John Savvides from Ms. Sullivan’s class at Hearst Elementary
  • Eighth grade — Maria Dominguez from Ms. Cornish’s class at St. Therese Academy; Diego Florance from Ms. Valenti’s class at Nazareth School

A celebration, sponsored by the Friends, was held at the library on Tuesday, April 4. Each student read his/her essay and received an award as well as a certificate from Councilman Scott Sherman. The two overall winners, Diego Florence and Charlotte Collins will go to the next level where grand prize winners will be announced during a ceremony later this month at the Balboa Park Club.

Congratulations to the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Library Essay Contest winners and thank you to their parents and teachers!

Book sale
The Friends of the Allied Gardens library will have their book sale on Saturday, April 29 starting at 9:30 a.m. Book lovers are invited to join us for this shopping extravaganza of well-priced reading material. Please tell your friends.

Inspirational local artist

The Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library is proud to feature abstract paintings by local artist George McDonagh.

McDonagh, now 64 years old, has been a resident of Allied Gardens since 1954. He was selected by the National Down Syndrome Society as the “National Face of Aging and Down Syndrome.” Visit our display cases to see George’s vibrant artwork and learn more about his inspiring life story.

Ever want to visit the library in your pajamas? Well, here is your chance: In April, we are introducing our new Pajama Storytime! It will take place the last Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.
Don’t forget to join us for our other wonderful storytimes: Baby Storytime Mondays at 10 a.m.; Toddler Storytime Tuesdays at 10 a.m.; Preschool Storytime Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.; and Yoga Storytime the first and third Fridays of the month at 10 a.m.

Mad Science is coming

On Saturday April 22 at 10:30 a.m., please join us for a very special program hosted by Mad Science called Spin, Pop, Boom!
Learn about crazy chemical reactions, the amazing properties of acids and bases and the greatness of gravity. Discover the forces that act on roller-coasters as we simulate what happens when they spin upside down. See combustion in action as our roaring exothermic reaction lights up the stage.

We’ll also create a colorful chemical reaction rainbow as we introduce acids and bases. In our finale, brave volunteers will help activate an enormous erupting foam volcano!

Don’t forget to come in and check out our new flower display, just in time for spring. See you at the library!

—Kathryn Johnson is managing librarian for the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library. Reacher her at

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