Funds pour in to restock Walbrook High library


A story Sunday in The Sun failed to mention three Cit Council members who donated money to restock Walbrook Senior High School's library. The three 5th District council members -- Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, Vera P. Hall and Iris G. rTC Reeves -- donated a total of $60 to replace books that were lost after the school closed for asbestos removal.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Baltimore's Walbrook Senior High School was closed for three years to get rid of asbestos, and when it was time to put stored-away books back on the library shelves, a lot of them were missing.

The renovated westside school near Leakin Park and its spacious library reopened for the 1991-1992 school year. After $14.2 million in repairs, the place looks great, but the bookshelves are a little bare.

Yesterday, big shots from Washington hooked up with school officials, merchants and folks from the neighborhood to launch a yearlong fund-raising drive that aims to buy $25,000 worth of new books and computer software for Walbrook.

"This is the first time I've seen everybody get together for a library like this," said Lily Patterson, a library specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools. "There's never enough funding for school libraries."

Led by Georgina M. Edgerton, a tireless community promoter, the kickoff garnered checks and pledges of cash from every politician present.

"I started a little project to fill the library shelves and it has grown with merchants, neighbors, faculty, churches, everybody," said Ms. Edgerton, a leader in the Mount Holly Improvement Association who counts Gov. William Donald Schaefer as a personal friend.

Governor Schaefer, who grew up nearby, sent a check for $1,000 that a spokesman said was from out of the governor's own pocket; Rep. Kwesi Mfume, D-7th, pitched in $400; state Sen. Clarence W. Blount, D-41st, came through with $100; and Baltimore City Council President Mary Pat Clarke said she forgot her checkbook but pledged $100 on the installment plan.

"I don't care how many computers we invent or how much we high-tech our lives, without books we don't move into the future," said Mrs. Clarke, who has expressed the same preference for books and traditional neighborhood libraries over electronic access to information from the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Pam Kelly, the governor's representative, also said that a collection among employees of the Department of Licensing and Regulation raised $350, that all magazines delivered to the State House would be forwarded to Walbrook, and that stacks of surplus textbooks in state warehouses would be combed for suitable titles.

Walbrook librarian Pamela A. Johnson said the school library is the starting point for major 11th- and 12th-grade research and exhibition projects that must be completed for graduation.

The fund-raiser will supplement $20,000 of Walbrook's budget already routed to the library.

"When you see books running $40 to $50 a volume and $100 to $175 for a reference book, it doesn't take very long to spend the money," Ms. Johnson said.

"Technology is fine, up to a point, but nothing will ever replace a book. Books are the result of technology. It's a little hard to curl up with a copy of Pippi Longstocking on a computer."


Contributions to Walbrook Senior High School's library can be sent in care of the school's PTA, 2000 Edgewood St., Baltimore, Md. 21216. Information: Pamela A. Johnson, school librarian, 396-0721.

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