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University Heights Library Yarn Bombing Celebrates Branch's Centennial

A San Diego guerrilla art group has claimed responsibility for a bombing outside the University Heights library and threatened to strike again.

The April 12 bombing obliterated a cold steel railing leading up to the library with a colorful explosion of warm, rainbow hues. A tree outside was covered in bright swaths of custom-fit coziness. No injuries were reported.

Did we mention it was a yarn bombing?


"It’s a low-cost and nondestructive form of public art," Mission Valley Public Library manager Karen Reilly said. "It's really a community cooperative art project."

Reilly said a large group of knitters and crocheters from across the U.S. started plotting – and knitting – three months ago in preparation for the yarn bombing. Measurements of the railings and a nearby tree were provided to the guerrilla artists by local collaborators and distributed online.

Reilly said the yarn bombing was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the San Diego Public Library's University Heights branch. The original library opened in 1914, but relocated to the corner of Park Boulevard and Howard Avenue in 1926. The present library was re-built on the same site in 1966.

Reilly said yarn bombing began around the early 2000s. Urban knitters would create mushrooms and flowers from yarn and place them in public places as “nondestructive graffiti,” she said. Other guerrilla knitters famously have made blankets for tanks or cozies for tree stumps in Detroit.

The group that yarn bombed the University Heights branch also claims responsibility for other incidents at the San Carlos and Kensington locations of the San Diego Public Library.


The group's next target – the Pacific Beach branch in July.