[Bill Erbes, Assistant Director at Bensenville Community Public Library in Illinois, shared in an email. Bill has shared so much with the WebJunction community as a Project Compass trainer and ongoing contributor. His work continues to impact many libraries around the country. Thank you for sharing again, Bill.]
This will be the 10th year that we have kept our Bensenville Community Public Library open for the entire 24-hours of September 11. Ten years ago, when there was talk of what to do to memorialize the events of 9/11/2001, it seemed so obvious to me that the most fitting memorial would be to build a public library on the site of what was the World Trade Center. This is from the proposal my Board accepted ten years ago:
Libraries represent the sum of all human knowledge, and they represent equal access to that knowledge. Libraries represent freedom of expression, celebration of diversity, a playing field that is level, preservation of heritage, and commitment to the future. There may be nothing more antithetical to terrorism, hatred, bigotry, and fanaticism than the American Public Library.
We believe there can be no more fitting tribute, no more appropriate commemoration of September 11, 2001, than for libraries to simply be there.
We invite libraries throughout the United States to join us. We propose that libraries of every type, every size, and in every state, for those 24 hours, remain open and conduct business as usual: facilitate communication, foster citizenship, promote understanding, guarantee freedom of access to information, and above all, on that particular day, stand with doors wide open as a remarkable symbol of our freedom.
Bill also shared this web version of the Bensenville newsletter announcing this year's Libraries Remember events. Here is an excerpt:
Libraries Remember will once again be observed on September 11, 2012 at the Bensenville Community Public Library. In commemoration of the victims of the terrorist attacks, and in celebration of the role public libraries play in the preservation of a free society, the library will remain open for the entire 24 hours of September 11 - opening at midnight and closing at midnight. Throughout the day, many activities will take place, and we do hope you will join us in this commemoration of remembrance and celebration.
Check out the great photos from the day on the library's Facebook page!