Happening at the Allied Gardens Library

By Kathryn Johnson

Friends of Library need help

The Friends of the Library are a 100 percent nonprofit, volunteer organization which supports children and adult programs in the library. They provide funding for acquisition of books, materials, and equipment for the library.

Currently, Friends of the Library is actively recruiting volunteers and organizational membership. They need volunteers to assist on Thursday mornings 9–11 a.m. with sorting book donations that have been collected throughout the week.

These donations are sold throughout the year and help to generate funds that support the library and its patrons. They are also looking for new members to grow and enhance their Friends of the Library organization. Please contact or visit the library if you are interested in volunteering and or becoming a Friends member.

One Book One San Diego

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Aug. 25, when the next title in our annual One Book, One San Diego program will be announced. All library locations will be holding events, programs and displays to celebrate this amazing work throughout the fall. Be sure to check back here for a listing of related programs at the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Library.

Vegan Adventures returns

After taking the summer off, Vegan Adventures will return on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. This month, professional chef Liz Gary will instruct attendees on mastering the veggie burger. She will demonstrate how to create a tasty veggie burger (and, no, that last phrase is not an oxymoron) from scratch. Everyone is welcome to attend this free program. Aprons are recommended.


The book club’s September title

September Book Club

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 1 p.m., our book group will be discussing “American Pastoral” by Phillip Roth. In this novel, a former athletic star, devoted family man, and owner of a thriving glove factory, Seymour “Swede” Levov finds his life coming apart during the social disorder of the 1960s, when his beloved daughter turns revolutionary terrorist out to destroy her father’s world.

Artist reception

After an exciting summer showing her work at Comic Fest, Wondercon and Comic-Con, local artist, Barbara Marker will be having a reception on Aug. 25, 2–5 p.m., in our Community Room. Now is your chance to meet her and see her gorgeous drawings.

Marker’s extensive body of work can be found in the pages of comic publishers such as Pacific, Blackthorne, DC, Dark Horse, Eclipse and Workhorse Comics. As an avid reader of classic mythology, sci-fi and fantasy genres, it is no surprise she excels in drawing fantastic beasts, such as mermaids, fairies, unicorns and dragons. Marker’s 12 years of experience as a comic book colorist is evident in her fine detail and color harmonies achieved by using Prismacolor pencils enhanced with watercolors. She let us in on a secret she learned from the “Old Masters” to create depth and realism — but we’re not telling. You will have to stop by her reception and ask her yourself!

‘Marmoset’ by Barbara Marker (Photos courtesy Allied Gardens Library)

Although she specializes in fantasy drawings, Marker is also well-known for drawing real animals and gets frequent commissions to do pet portraits. She explains that this is more challenging than the fantasy drawings, but she enjoys the process of trying to capture each animal’s individual personality through their expressions. Her sincere love and appreciation of each animal’s unique beauty is evident in the careful observations and details of pen and brush. There is something especially compelling in the eyes of Marker’s animals. It is difficult to look away. Marker’s goal is to “give the viewer something beautiful to see.” She has definitely achieved this goal with her recent exhibit at the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library Gallery.

Highlights from her fantasy work and animal portraiture will be in our main gallery through November. Additionally, several of her comic book covers will be featured in our display case as part of our Comic-Con-themed group show through September.

Kids’ corner

STEAM Storytime: Start your weekend off right with our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) Storytime. Each week we will read some fun stories, sing some catchy tunes and of course do some weird, quirky, magical science. Children of all ages are welcome.

We continue to offer story times for babies, toddlers and preschoolers throughout the week. Please visit the branch or check out our Facebook page for our monthly schedule.


Attention teachers

School is back in session at the end of this month. We would love to introduce the library to your students. Would you like to schedule a class visit to the library? Would you like us to come visit you in your class? How about a book talk or database demonstration? Or maybe an introduction to our online tutoring resources? We offer all this and more! If you are interested in having the library help you please contact us here at the branch. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you at the library!

— Kathryn Johnson is managing librarian of the Allied Gardens-Benjamin Branch Library. Reach her at

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