News from the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch Library — Jan. 20

Book Sale

Are you an avid reader? Do you love to read while traveling? If so, the Friends of the Benjamin Library Book Sale is coming up at the end of this month.

Stock up on well-priced books to have on hand for when you run out of library books or for when you take a trip and don’t want to risk losing a library book. The book sale is Saturday, Jan. 28 starting at 9:30 a.m.

Danielle and the machine

Over the past several articles, I have introduced readers to our wonderful staff. This month, I would like to introduce two of our newest arrivals — Danielle, our new Youth Services Librarian and Nigel, our self-checkout machine.

Danielle is a native of San Diego and has worked with the library for almost 16 years. She came to our branch in October for a newly created part-time position. So far, she is enjoying our community and states that “patron and staff are wonderful.”

She is enjoying getting to know the library and the community we serve. When not doing story times or coming up with creative programs for kids and teens, Danielle enjoys watching movies and reading, of course! She is also a big theater fan and loves it so much that she completed her BA on the subject.

Several weeks ago, Danielle was presenting a story time and got to know a young patron who knows exactly what she wants.

“On this particular day, they were making monsters in honor of Halloween and I had decided to pass out holiday-themed stickers to all the kids,” she said. “When I got to this one little girl (I would say she was around 3) and her grandmother, I asked her if she wanted a sticker. She looked at me and said, ‘When I’m done crafting.’ Her grandmother and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. So I left her to her crafting, after she had finished her monster she came over to show me and said, ‘I’ll take my sticker now.’ It was a very fun and funny moment in story time and I can’t wait to add many more memorable moments to my collection.”

Many of our regular patrons have already had the pleasure of meeting Nigel, our self-checkout machine. At the moment, Nigel can check out a stack of materials that have RFID tags inside. These Radio Frequency IDs make it so there is no longer a need to scan the barcode.

In addition to this skill, Nigel is also able to renew your materials, show you what you have checked out and how much you may owe. In the future, Nigel will become even smarter and be able to accept credit/debit payments, make book recommendations, offer digital books to check out from the CloudLibrary and inform patrons about our programs. If only he could make coffee!

With all that Nigel can do, many patrons have asked what library staff will now do. The good news is that we will be able to offer more in-depth help at the desk such as making book recommendations and assisting with reference and research. We will also be able to get out into the community more and provide more programming.

Speaking of programming

On Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m., we have the perfect program to show yourself a little love. The Healthy Adventures Foundation will present on the topic of healthy living on a budget. Learn tips and tricks to eat, live, exercise and be healthy while still being budget conscious. Everyone is welcome to join us for this free program.

As always, please feel free to share your programming suggestions, ideas and comments with me and the staff. Libraries are doing amazing things to connect with the community and help those in the community connect to each other.

So, if you would like to see a Bridge Club, Crotchet Circle, Book Share, Coloring for Relaxation, Family Movie Night, Personal Finance Lecture or Basic Bicycle Maintenance program, we would love to hear about it!

See you at the library.

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

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