September 11, 2001: Traumatized by Terrorism

Read the American Libraries news coverage of the September 11 Terrorist attacks, from the November 2001 issue

September 6, 2011

Ten years ago, American Libraries wrote:

In New York City, Washington, D.C., and across the nation, neighborhood public libraries are helping a population traumatized, saddened, and angered by the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to cope and return to the comforting routines of daily life. First Lady Laura Bush has encouraged citizens to turn to reading for healing. Like many of her colleagues around the country, the former librarian and teacher began compiling lists of books for Americans to read—for themselves and to their children.

Libraries responded swiftly to inform and console a confused public, whipping together programs that offered a stunned nation the opportunity to discuss and come to grips with the issues surrounding the tragedy.

The World Trade Center housed many corporate and specialized libraries and archives and related organizations. Among them, in Tower One were: the American Merchant Marine Library Association, the archives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the libraries of Hill Betts and Nash, Sidley Austin Brown and Wood, and Serko and Simon. In Tower Two: the libraries of the National Development and Research Institute, Aon Corporation, Thacher Proffitt and Wood, Guy Carpenter and Company, the Council of State Governments, Morgan Stanley, Fiduciary Trust Company International, and the Journal of Commerce.

The dozens of firms located in the twin towers lost everything from client accounts to trading records to personnel files. Comdisco in Rosemont, Illinois, a company that runs 42 disaster-recovery centers, helped firms from the World Trade Center and other evacuated buildings retrieve information.

Ann Parham, chief librarian for the Department of the Army, was near the site where the plane struck the Pentagon. She was at a copying machine with her back to the explosion. A fireball swept over her from behind. Something crashed down from the ceiling, hitting her on the head and knocking her down. In the smoky corridor, she took the hand of a coworker and followed a growing stream of people working their way outside.

Read the full American Libraries coverage as a PDF file.



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