“The world we live in will never be the same, regardless of politics.”
Those were the words of John Jay Schwartz, a member of the Friends of the Library and a VCU alumnus, was one of the speakers at the opening ceremony of VCU Libraries’ 9/11 commemoration event on Sept. 9 at the James Branch Cabell library.
Schwartz’s, wife, Gail P. Schwartz, joined him to present their donated prints that document the construction of the World Trade Center.
Schwartz was joined by a short presentation about VCU kinetic imaging professor, Stephen Vitiello, whose piece, “World Trade Center Recordings: Winds After Hurricane Floyd” was one of the other exhibits the library hosted. Vitiello’s career was briefly detailed by John Priestley, a doctoral student in VCU’s media art and text program.
In addition to these two exhibits, the library’s Special Collections and Archives also presented three special exhibits: “Comic Artists Respond to September 11, 2001,” “Artists’ Books Commemorate September 11” and “Richmond and 9-11: 10 Years Ago.”
According to Greg Kimbrell, the membership and events coordinator of VCU Libraries, the team that planned the commemoration event also wanted to involve those who went to see the exhibit.
The library has white boards and post-it notes in the entrance where visitors are welcome to write and post their memories of Sept. 11, 2001.
Library staff had to supplement the original white board with two more, six hours after the first was put in the lobby.
“We came up with the idea of the wall of memories as a way (to allow) people, especially people who weren’t actually there, to say what 9/11 meant to them, where they were at the time and how it affected or changed them,” Kimbrell said. “It’s touched all of us.”
The 9/11 Commemoration is free and open to the public at the Cabell library until Sept. 23.
Photos by Breanna Townsend