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Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

I remember . . .

I was at work in the library on September 11, 2001.  I had just given my notice and was set to begin at a new library, Marion Public Library, on September 17th.  I remember talking on the phone to my husband as he told me what was happening.  There were staff members watching the news in the staff lounge.  We all went home.

That night The Mr. and I went to church for a special prayer service at our church.  When we came out, the roads were a virtual parking lot and there were flashing police lights everywhere.  It looked like Armageddon and we had no idea what had happened.  It turned out that everyone was just trying to get gas because the truth is, no one knew what was going to happen next.  Here I was about to move and start a new job, and as far as we knew World War III could be starting.

I remember staying in temporary housing while George Bush made his speech to the nation.  I was in Marion now and that uncertainty still permeated the air.  I was going to be the first teen services librarian that Marion had ever hired and I had the opportunity to start a collection and services from scratch, yet so little was known still at that time about what would be happening in our nation.

That day changed us all forever.  I remember having read The Terrorist by Caroline B. Cooney and realizing that there were people who had been living every day with what America had experienced that day.  It was a new feeling to us, but it was not a new feeling to most of the world.

Three months after starting at Marion Public Library I learned that I was pregnant with my first child who is now a Tween.  She has never lived in a world before 9/11.  And yet she doesn’t fully understand what happened and how it changed us.  Our tweens today live in a post 9/11 world without a full understanding of what, exactly, that means.  But those of us that watched the news that day, that shed tears and were transformed, we know.  But the important thing, I think, is that we not allow it to change the heart of who we are.


  1. It's very interesting to think about what the world is like for kids born post-9/11; you're right that it IS a different place. Airline travel is totally different, and I think it caused a shift in how patriotism is viewed in our country. For a few weeks I felt a lot of solidarity with people, but marketing kind of took over and holiday decor featured a red white and blue theme that year, with stores ready to offer all sorts of flag memorabilia. All for sale. Politicians have unfortunately turned patriotism into a very specific thing, usually for their own cause. I wish sometimes we wouldn't forget those first few weeks after the attacks, how we all seemed more accepting of each other. We just wanted to cope and not bicker. I know it wasn't ideal, and absolutely the worst part was that it took a terrorist attack to get there, but I try to hang on to the heroic spirit I saw during that time.

    I blogged about this today too:
    my blog

  2. I was teaching middle school, and set to leave the next day to meet the two girls who would become my daughters. I will forever be thankful that I was at school that day, and not a sub. We live in a military town, so a good percentage of my students had parents in the military. One boy's father was TDY at the Pentagon, and the office delivered a message from his mother that his father had called, and he was safe. When I gave this tough and cool, nothing-phases-me, young boy the message, I could see it hit him that his father might NOT have been okay, and he just started shaking with silent tears. I'm crying again just remembering that.

    The next day, I went ahead and drove to the airport my flight was booked out of, knowing what I would probably find. Sure enough, all flights cancelled, so I just continued on the interstate and drove all day, to where my girls were living. I missed those first few days of news craziness because I was hanging out at a hotel pool, shopping, and seeing the sights with two beautiful young girls. We all knew everything was changing for us, but in ways that had nothing to do with terrorists. I didn't realize then what a gift of timing that was for all three of us.

  3. Yes especially during this campaign season you see how far we have come in the last 11 years from the feelings of those first few weeks. I too wish we were still working together more to bring ourselves out of the troubling financial times we find ourselves in. I look forward to reading your blog post. Thank you.

  4. Wow, I am so glad that things worked out for you and your girls. What a blessing.

  5. I had just started library school that semester, and my sweetie had just gotten a contracting job with a company after weeks of a layoff. I was watching the morning news and saw it on there- I kept trying to get him on the phone but they locked down their facility (even though we were in TX) because their sister location was in the towers, so all he could do was text that they were OK.

    I called my mom in Illinois (they're near one of the nuclear plants, and at that time no one knew if the attacks where nationwide or not), and she didn't believe what I was saying until she turned on the TV, and we watched the second tower collapse together. They then locked down the hospital where she was, and I was by myself.

    I lost good friends that day, and have lost more since that were enlisted. It's a painful day, and I can't turn on the news or TV or even social media today without something jogging painful memories.

  6. It's just crazy to think about the kids now being born after 9/11. My oldest son was born about 9 months after (we planned on “trying”, and we decided to stick with the plan). I had students read a brief statement during our school ceremony today. You could see the memories on the teachers' faces, but it's clear the kids don't really understand.

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