Toddler Storytime. Songs, active rhymes and stories especially for ages 18 months to 3 years. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Melrose Branch Library, 4805 Foothill Blvd., Oakland. 510-535-5623, www.oaklandlibrary.org.

Chess at the Library. A weekly chess program offers instruction for beginners and a place for patrons of all ages and levels to play with each other. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. César E. Chávez Branch, 3301 E. 12th St., Oakland. 510-535-5620, www.oaklandlibrary.org.

Off the Hook Knitting Group. The Melrose Knitting Group meets the second and fourth Saturday every month. 3 to 5 p.m. Melrose Branch Library, 4805 Foothill Blvd., Oakland. 510-535-5623, www.oaklandlibrary.org.

Superior Court Volunteers Needed. Alameda County Superior Court needs eager volunteers to support the information kiosks in the Oakland, Hayward, and Fremont courthouses. Training provided. Call for details 510-891-6921 or jsalerno@alameda.courts.ca.gov.

The World of Tolkien. Internationally acclaimed Catholic author and dynamic speaker Joseph Pearce presents a series of lectures on the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, including "Unlocking the Lord of the Rings" and "The Hidden Meaning of the Hobbit." 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 2. Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland. $25 and $15. www.TheWorldofTolkien.com.

Oakland Youth Orchestra. The award-winning Oakland Youth Orchestra presents a benefit gala featuring cocktails, performance, dinner and a live auction. 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. March 2. Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension, 4700 Lincoln Ave., Oakland. $125. 510-531-3400, www.oyo.org/page/events.html.

NPR's Linda Wertheimer with Christine Pelosi. Mills College's celebration of Women's History Month kicks off with a live-audience interview between National Public Radio Senior National Correspondent Linda Wertheimer and author, attorney, and political activist Christine Pelosi. 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 5. Mills College, Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall/Greek Amphitheater, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. Free. 510-430-2255, www.mills.edu.

Author and Teacher Daphne Muse. In her more than 30 years of teaching, Daphne Muse has reached thousands of students. "They Taught Me Into My Calling," her forthcoming book, shares the stories of the educator and mentors who made her learning and her calling possible. 4 to 5:30 p.m. March 6. Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. 510-430-2135, www.mills.edu.

Burma Human Rights Day Benefit. An evening focusing on Burma, with speakers Larry Diamond (global democracy expert), Min Zin (Burmese journalist), Nyunt Than (activist/co-founder of BADA); the film, "Burma -- A Human Tragedy;" authentic Burmese dinner and cultural performances. 6 to 10 p.m. March 9. Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St., Oakland. $20 suggested donation. 415-722-2907, www.badasf.org.

Bay Area Bonsai Associates Annual Show. The annual show of the Bay Bonsai Associates. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 10. Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellvue Dr., Oakland. Free. 408-354-9391.