A campaign to rebuild the burned-out library at Lake Clifton-Eastern High School was launched yesterday with a rallying cry that will send some Baltimoreans to their attics.
In addition to thousands of nonfiction and fiction books, a Jan. 30 fire in the library devoured keepsakes that chart the histories of the two schools.
"All of our yearbooks are gone for Lake Clifton and for Eastern High School," Librarian Yvonne Mercer said yesterday.
She realized that they had burned when she began compiling an inventory last week for the school's insurance claim. The yearbooks had been stored in the library, along with commencement programs, photos, pamphlets from farewell assemblies and news clippings about school and community events.
The archives included mementos of Eastern High School, which was founded in 1844 as an all-girl public high school. The mementos were sent to Lake Clifton when Eastern's building closed in 1986, and the school was merged with Lake Clifton.
"Some things, no matter what money you may be able to raise, you just can't replace, you can't buy," said Stanley E. Holmes, the school's principal. One of the items lost was a vintage diploma sent to the library a few months ago by descendants of an Eastern alumna.
Yesterday, Mr. Holmes and other school officials called on alumni from both schools, community groups, churches and individuals to help rebuild the library's collection. Donations of time, skills, dollars and especially books and audiovisual equipment for the collection are sought.
Several groups have already offered help, including Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., the Maryland branch of the nonprofit group Volunteers of America and several area churches.
The students' immediate need is for reference books that will help them complete term papers in such fields as history and literature, he said. Career and college guides are needed, along with back issues for the past four years of current-events and specialty magazines such as National Geographic.
The school also needs to replace IBM-compatible computers and software, educational films and overhead projectors destroyed by the fire.
Students said they have been using the central Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Erdman Avenue and Wolfe Street branches since the fire.
LAKE CLIFTON-EASTERN LIBRARY FUND
Checks may be made out to the Lake Clifton-Eastern High School Library Fund. The address is Lake Clifton-Eastern High School, 2801 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore 21213.
To donate books, equipment or time, call Lake Clifton-Eastern's school office at (410) 396-6637. The school is particularly interested in donations of all types of reference books, and of yearbooks and other memorabilia from Lake Clifton and Eastern high schools.
Donations also will be accepted through the Baltimore school system's library services office. Call Jackie Merchant at (410) 396-7663.