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.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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