Happenings at the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library

By Kathryn Johnson

Celebrate National Library Week: April 9–15

Recently, I was paging through the “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and was reminded of just how many unique, and sometimes strange, celebrations there are.

For example, I never realized that there is a day designated as National Hairball Awareness Day. (By the way, it’s April 28 if you or your cat are planning to celebrate.)

(Courtesy of

Given that vinegar (all of May), grouches (Oct. 15) and surf music (all of June) are all honored with at least a designated day to celebrate, it only stands to reason that there would be a celebration of libraries. Luckily, we get a whole week to celebrate the library and its wonderful services and programs.

To celebrate National Library Week at the branch, we will have a trivia challenge for teens and adults and a fun scavenger hunt for children.

Stop in during the week of the April 9–15 and test your library knowledge, explore library resources and enter for a chance to win prizes!

Friends Spring Book Sale

Our Friends group will have their Spring Book Sale on Saturday, April 29 starting at 9:30 a.m. Come early to take advantage of the large inventory and small prices.

Your purchases not only help fill your bookshelves at home but the funds also help the library in meeting its goal to provide quality services and programs for all.

Calling all memoirists

Some of you may have heard about the very popular Memoir Writing workshop we held in January and February. This six-week class was so popular that the group has decided to coordinate a weekly get-together to discuss the art of memoir writing and share personal writings.

Whether you are putting the finishing touches on your memoir or simply wanting to get started, this group of welcoming individuals is open to everyone. The Life in Stories group will meet every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Spring into STEAM

San Diego Public Library is very excited to offer a system-wide program entitled Spring into STEAM. Every location will host a program for kids ages 8 and up that will spark their interest and curiosity in science.

Our branch will offer the “Sunshine in a Jar” program on Tuesday, April 18 at 4 p.m. Attendees will design and create an environmentally-friendly light using a mason jar and solar energy light bulbs. If your child is interested, please call 619-533-3970 to register.

Healthier living with chronic conditions

The Allied Gardens/Benjamin Library will be partnering with the Health and Human Services Agency to present a six-week program series for those with ongoing medical conditions. Attendees will learn ways to better manage health challenges, explore ways to reduce fatigue and set goals to make positive changes.

Family members and caregivers are also welcome to attend. The class will take place on Mondays at 10 a.m. starting April 17. Please call the branch at 619-533-3970 to reserve your spot.

The art of Jesse Amaro are on display at the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library in March and April. (Facebook)

For art lovers and sports fans

Bright pastels and acrylic portraits by sports art specialist Jesse Amaro are being featured in the main gallery during March and April. Amaro began drawing at age 8 and never stopped.

He has an ability to capture not only the movement of athletes in action but something of their character as well. His lush colors and expressive brushwork bring our favorite sports heroes to life.

“The detail of these types of portraits and the challenge of bringing that detail to life is what I see and what I want you to see as well,” Amaro said.

That detail and his passion for sports is evident in his vibrant paintings.

Take a trip down memory lane

Stop by to reminisce with your old friends Dick, Jane, Puff, and Spot! Our library is featuring a display of Scott Foreman’s “Fun with Dick and Jane” 1950s readers. You can also check out newer versions of this classic series from the San Diego Public Library’s circulating collection.

While you are visiting Dick and Jane, glimpse a lovely selection of Madrid Pattern Depression Glass as well as a collection of 1950s and 1960s Vegas and San Diego memorabilia.

Events for children

At the beginning of March, we changed our story times so that we can offer separate baby and toddler programs.

On Monday mornings at 10 a.m., we will be having our brand new Baby Story Time for children 0-12 months, where babies get the opportunity to interact with caregivers, other babies and our wonderful staff; Toddler Story Time continues Tuesdays at 10 a.m.; and our Yoga Story Time on the first and third Fridays of the month at 10 am.

See you at the library!

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

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