The bookmobile parked beside the Pimlico Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library yesterday may not fill all of the neighborhood's literary needs, but it was a welcome addition to an area whose branch library was firebombed two weeks ago.
About 50 people attended the brief ceremony announcing the bookmobile's arrival, among them a large group from nearby Park Heights Elementary School. Tiffany Grimes, a fifth-grader at the school, said she was disappointed when the library was burned, but is now pleased to have a bookmobile.
"We need a library in our neighborhood," she said.
"Everything is a lesson, and the lesson to be learned from this experience is that you can burn a building, but you can't burn a spirit," said Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who was among several city officials at the ceremony.
The branch in the 5000 block of Park Heights Ave. received damage estimated at at $150,000 to $200,000 after someone threw a Molotov cocktail through a window in the early hours of May 1. The fire destroyed furniture and scores of paperback books and damaged the interior walls, the floor and ceiling of a workroom and a small kitchen.
In their efforts to solve the crime, police have gone house to house in the neighborhood.
"We need the citizens in the area to assist us in any way, shape or form," said Detective David Webb. Police are downplaying any suspicion that the firebombing was related to the recent rioting in Los Angeles. Yesterday, the Park Heights neighborhood tried to put aside the setback. Prayers were offered and speeches given while workers in blue, paint-spattered jumpsuits went about repairing the damage.
The bookmobile will be open 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and will remain beside the Pimlico branch until repairs there are completed in late June.
Police are asking anyone with information about the fire to call the department at 396-2645 or 396-5690. Metro Crime Stoppers at 276-8888 also is offering an award of up to $1,000.