(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) The exploded Little Free Library in Arlington Forest was mysteriously rebuilt last week, much to the delight of the owners.
It was a cold, overcast, slightly snowy Wednesday morning last week when Sharon Beth Bronheim left her Arlington Forest home to do a quick errand. As it had since November when an unknown assailant blew up the Little Free Library that was once there. As a temporary measure, a plastic box filled with books sat on the wood platform in front of the house.
When Sharon Beth returned only about an hour later, at around 11 a.m., she was met with an unexpected sight.
“When I came back, it was sunny and there was a [new] Little Free Library installed,” she told ARLnow.
Neither Sharon Beth nor her husband Jeremy Bronheim were involved in rebuilding the library nor do they know the identity of the person who did it, replacing the plastic box. They did catch a glimpse of the person from their security camera but not enough to “make out who it was.”
The structure is “incredibly well-crafted,” Sharon Beth noted, with wooden shingles, solid wood on the back, and painted a delightful robin egg blue color.
“We have gratitude for whoever did this. If they want to reach out and tell us it was them, we’d love to thank them,” Jeremy said. “If they don’t, that’s okay too.”
That day, the couple added a few books of their own to the new library. By Friday morning, two days later, the library was brimming with books.
It’s a testament to the community and neighborhood that something like this could happen, they said — that a Little Free Library can get destroyed only for it to come back better than it ever was.
“The community has really embraced that location as being a Little Free Library location.”
In November, a still-unknown suspect or suspects blew up the library at the 100 block of N. Columbus Street, near the intersection with the Arlington Blvd service road. It’s believed the same people set off another small explosion that night at the nearby Lubber Run amphitheater as well.
The FBI, ATF, Virginia State Police, and Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) all were involved in the investigation.
However, several months later, no arrests have been made as of yet.
“There are no updates to provide on this,” ACFD spokesperson Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow. “This is still an ongoing investigation. The ATF and FBI are not involved, the Arlington County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office is handling the case.”
Sharon Beth said she’d be “more comfortable” if a suspect had been caught, but understands investigations of this nature can take time. She is thankful there have been no incidents since then and that there’s a new, beautifully bright Little Free Library, anonymously built and donated by an apparently book-loving local.
Additionally, Sharon Beth’s father is currently working on a “children’s book annex” that will sit next to the library and hold picture books.
Sharon Beth and Jeremy expect to hold a “grand re-opening” celebration for the library in the spring, when the weather is warmer and the annex is completed. In the meantime, they’ll admire the handiwork, watch books cycle in and out of it, and allow the mysterious builder the chance to come forward. Or not.
“We’re just completely amazed at whoever it was that did this and greatly appreciate it,” Sharon Beth said.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
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