By KATHRYN JOHNSON
Like many people, I have very fond memories of visiting the library as a child. My siblings and I would often walk to the library with our mother and explore the children’s area while mom looked for her next read. The library at that time reminded me of church in that it was extremely quiet. This served patrons well as they studied alone, researched information and quietly read. If you have visited the Allied Gardens Benjamin Branch Library lately, you have seen that libraries are much different than they were in the past. This is perhaps most apparent in the layout of new libraries.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing the San Diego Public Library’s new San Ysidro branch. The space is colorful, art filled and has a wonderful layout for people using the library in a variety of ways. The children’s space is on the opposite side of the adult section, the teens have a gaming room that has a door to decrease noise in the library and the maker space has sewing machines, a 3D printer and a die cutter for all to use. Overall, the new library demonstrates the changes that libraries have gone through in the past several decades.
While our branch is several years away from a new building, we strive to balance the needs of everyone despite our space constraints. This is the reason that the library is a bit more “lively” for a few hours after school. Many schools now require students to work in groups so they will work together while in the library, other students want to blow off a bit of steam so they’ll play games with each other on the computers while other youth prefer to use this valuable free time to connect with friends. We still require patrons to speak softly so as not to disturb others but when we get an influx of up to 50 students in the afternoon, there is an unavoidable “buzz.”
We will continue to remind our younger patrons to speak softly and ensure they are using the library appropriately but we ask for a bit of patience while our young patrons are using the space. Down the road, when we get a new building, we will better be able to accommodate everyone. Thank you for your understanding.
Our Friends need your help
Friends of the San Diego Public Library (FOL) Allied Gardens Benjamin Branch Library is a 100% nonprofit, volunteer organization which supports programs for all ages. The FOL provides funding for acquisition of books, materials, and equipment for the library. Currently, FOL is actively recruiting for volunteers and organizational membership. The organization is recruiting volunteers to assist with sorting book donations given to the library, which are then sold to raise funds for the branch. Sorting takes place on Thursday mornings from 9-11 a.m. The FOL is recruiting new members for the organization, as well. The additional membership and expertise will grow and enhance the FOL organization.
If you are not available for a regular volunteer shift, we are also recruiting for help with set up and take down of the next book sale. Help is needed on Friday, Nov. 1, from 9-11 a.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Please call 619-533-3970 or stop in for more information on the above opportunities.
Please stop in to pick up a calendar of our regular programs or get on our mailing list to have them sent to your email. Here are our upcoming special events for the rest of October:
Heart to Heart:
A community conversation
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m., please join us for an opportunity to gain insights and understanding into the LGBTQ community. We will host a discussion with panel members from a variety backgrounds. While this program is free and open to the public, we encourage attendees to bring an open mind and open heart.
Sewing for Beginners
Our first sewing class for this month has already filled up so keep an eye out for our November class!
Our next big book sale will take place on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Free Play Fridays
Starting Friday, Oct. 18, at 10 a.m., babies and toddlers will have the opportunity to play in an unstructured setting. Little ones will be able to make noise, interact with toys and books, and meet new friends. We’ll sing a few songs, and have fun with bubbles. Program is geared toward babies and toddlers 0-3. Older siblings are welcome.
Pumpkin Carving for kids
Monday, Oct. 28, at 4:30 p.m. As of this writing, there are still spaces available for our annual pumpkin-carving event. Please register on our website or by calling 619-533-3970 during open hours.
Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Thursday, Oct. 31, all day, stop in to do our special scavenger hunt geared toward early elementary school children. All children that complete the hunt will receive a piece of candy.
— Kathryn Johnson is branch manager of the Allied Gardens Benjamin Branch Library.