8:46AM on Tuesday, September 11th, the lives of every single American changed. For the first time in several generations, America was under attack by outside sources.
9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon, Pentagon City, Virginia Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
This would become a new generation’s Kennedy Assassination. An event where almost every American alive on that day, knew exactly where they were and what they were doing. Over 3,000 people perished in the attacks that hit the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Many first responders and clean-up workers were affected by elements in the debris, which led to various illnesses. The way we conducted our lives, the way we worked, the ways we viewed our neighbors, and the ways we travelled were changed forever. Twenty years have passed, but those who lost their lives in the attacks and in the wars that followed will never be forgotten.
Fire officer Brenda Berkman was one of the many first responders during 9/11. Thirteen years later, she’s become an artist specializing in stone lithography. Much of her work depicts the evolving cityscape of Downtown Manhattan. From: CROWNING NEW YORK
Two months after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government created the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA. All the laws and protocols governing U.S. flight safety were about to change forever. From the Series: Air Disasters: The Pentagon Attack
Photojournalist John Harrington talks about the rare Pentagon photographs that he donated to the Smithsonian. From the series 9:11 – Stories in Fragments
City of Portland officials along with the Portland Fire Department and the Portland Police Department will join on Saturday, September 11, 2021 for a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial at Fort Allen Park. Fire Chief Keith Gautreau and Police Chief Frank Clark will participate in a wreath laying ceremony followed by a moment of silence at 8:46 AM to mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. September 11, 2021 at 8:30 AM, Fort Allen Park, Eastern Promenade, Portland.
Mass Commemorating 20th Anniversary of the Tragic Events of 9/11 in Portland. A special Mass remembering, honoring, and praying for the victims and loved ones of September 11, 2001, will be held on Saturday, September 11, at 8 a.m. at St. Peter Church on 72 Federal Street in Portland. Those gathered will also pray for peace and protection for first responders. All are welcome to attend.
Memorial photograph wall of people killed at the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum in downtown Manhattan (borough) in New York City, built on the site of the terrorist attack that brought down the World Trade Center’s “Twin Towers” on what has become known simply as “9/11” – September 11, 2001
In this op-ed piece published on August 4, 2021, by the Portland Press Herald, PPL Senior Library Assistant, and author, Hannah Matthews, thoughtfully articulates PPL staff voices and experiences of keeping our community and each other safe as we open to the public
Maine Voices: By reopening to the public, Portland library is returning to our mission
BY HANNAH MATTHEWS SPECIAL TO THE PRESS HERALD
Welcoming you all back into our building makes it clear that we are all responsible for keeping each other healthy, safe and informed.
At work the other day, a woman approached me, apologizing. Her young son let go of her hand and went running past us, yelling that he was going to find a book. I could see, behind her mask and glasses, that she was crying.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she kept saying, as I searched my desk for a box of tissues I could offer her. “It’s just been such a hard year. We’re so happy to be back here again, with you.”
When the Portland Public Library opened our doors to the public June 22, my colleagues and I hit the ground running. Those of us on the front lines of public interaction had been nervously preparing for scenarios that could put us or others around us in danger. Many of us, staff and patrons alike, have young children who cannot yet be vaccinated, or elderly parents, or health conditions that make us especially vulnerable to the virus and its variants, and we all carry the weight of this awareness in our bodies.
The PPL staff has, like so many Mainers, faced a patchwork of stressors and struggles during this time: furloughs, reduced hours, shifting job responsibilities to fill in gaps, and the challenges of creating new ways to serve people remotely. Stress, fatigue, heartbreak and anger – financial, medical, logistical and existential – radiated through our city and, inevitably, our work.
And we were constantly, heartbreakingly, aware of our sudden lack of ability to serve all of our patrons. Folks with no computer access or no means of transportation were unable to reach out to us for help or information or human connection, as they normally would. Like nearly every other facet of life in America, we felt our work becoming inequitable as the pandemic dragged on. For people who chose our jobs specifically in order to help everybody, this was unspeakably painful.
In preparing to open to the public and get back to workdays that resembled our pre-pandemic job duties, helping patrons face to face, we have been nervous, yes, but also overjoyed and grateful to return to the pursuit of our mission.
Welcoming you all back into our building has meant seeing the children who have grown by a foot and a reading level over the year they’ve spent at home, the babies who were born since we last saw their parents, the patrons of all ages and circumstances who have discovered new authors and topics and interests in this time away from our stacks and help desks, and who are eager to tell us about all the changes that have happened in their lives during our long time apart.
Being a library worker is about so much more than information and books. Each hour of our workday is filled with the interactions and conversations, both large and small, that shape our patrons’ paths forward and our own. Beyond shelving and recommendations, beyond help with taxes and citizenship, beyond research and reading – librarianship is about securing equal footing for everyone and ensuring that our communities have access to trusted information and mutual aid resources in times of confusion, chaos and stress.
COVID-19 has only made clearer the reason that public libraries exist, and the reason that front-line library workers continue to serve at their desks: We all rely on one other. We are all connected, and thus we are all responsible for keeping each other healthy and safe and informed. That is why our doors have been closed, and it’s also why they are open now.
Welcome to the library, Portland, from the folks who help you find and check out your books, the folks who wipe down the tables and computers before you use them and the folks who take your phone calls and direct you to the community resources you need.
We’re so happy to be here again, with you.
Hannah Matthews is a PPL librarian and her written work has appeared in Esquire Magazine, McSweeney’s, Catapult, and more. Photo credit: Hannah Matthews.
During the last Olympic Games, this librarian created a short vocabulary list of Olympic terminology. With the addition of several new sports, I thought it might be appropriate to add to that list along with explanation of some lesser known and newer sports.
Debuted in 2010 Youth Olympic Games and was chosen for the 2020 games in 2017. Three-on-three basketball uses a smaller ball (size 6), and only half of a regular sized basketball court. The game is a single period of 10 minutes with sudden death at 21 points. The winner is the first team to score 21 or the team with the higher score at the end of the 10 minutes. A tie in regulation leads to an untimed overtime period. Whichever team scores two points wins the game. Note that if a game is tied at 20 at the end of regulation, reaching 21 does not end the game. The sport, as a whole, is overseen by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
From the FIBA 2020 Olympic Media Guide
The US Surfing Olympic Team, photo from USA Surfing
Surfing as a sport is broadly divided according to the size and type of the board used. The longboard is around nine feet in length and more buoyant than the shortboard, which first appeared around 1970 and is approximately six feet in length. The shortboard has a pointed tip which aids turning, is quicker to maneuver and tends to be receptive to more dynamic techniques. Shortboards will be used at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where 20 men and 20 women will compete in separate competitions. The sport, which will be new to the 2020 games is judged by the following five criteria:
Commitment and degree of difficulty.
Innovative and progressive maneuvers.
Variety of manoeuvres.
Combination of major maneuvers
Speed, power, and flow.
According to the Salem Press Encyclopedia, surfing is one of the oldest continually practiced sports. It first developed thousands of years ago in western Polynesia. Surfing then spread to Hawaii, where it became central to ancient Hawaiian culture. Finally, the sport spread to California and the rest of the world.* Like many sports, surfing has its own culture and Wikipedia has a great list of surfing terms.
Alexis Sablone in action at the 2018 X Games. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via Out Sports
There will be two different event categories for this year’s new sport. The events are street and park, both with corresponding courses. According to Olympics.com, “both the “Street” and “Park” courses have been designed with equality in mind for both regular and goofy stance skateboarders as well as all genders to compete on.” Goofy, goofy stance or goofy foot all refer to a skateboarder, snowboarder, surfer, or wakeboarder riding with his or her left foot in back, toward the tail of the board. Goofy stance gets this name because most people put their left foot forward, which is called a regular stance.
This competition is held on a straight ‘street-like’ course featuring stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls and slopes. Each skateboarder performs individually and uses each section to demonstrate a range of skills, or ‘tricks’. Judging takes into account factors such as the degree of difficulty of the tricks, height, speed, originality, execution and the composition of moves, in order to award an overall mark.
Park competitions take place on a hollowed-out course featuring a series of complicated curves — some resembling large dishes and dome-shaped bowls. From the bottom of the cavity, the curved surfaces rise steeply, with the upper part of the incline either vertical or almost vertical. Among the attractions of park competitions are the immense heights achieved by climbing the curves at speed and performing amazing mid-air tricks.
Lead climbing competition in the final of the boys’ sport climbing at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires on 10 October 2018. Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons
According to USA Climbing, athletes will compete in the Combined format which will feature all three Sport Climbing disciplines – Bouldering, Lead and Speed – in one event with a total of six medals handed out to the sport’s first Olympic athletes. Each climber will compete in all three disciplines, and the final rankings will be determined by multiplying the placement in each discipline, with the athletes achieving the lowest scores winning medals.
Two climbers secure safety ropes to themselves and attempt to scale a 15m-high wall (49.2126 feet), set at an angle of 95 degrees, faster than their opponent on identical routes. Winning times for men’s events tend to be around the five to six-second mark, while women’s events are usually won in around seven or eight seconds. A false start results in instant disqualification.
In Bouldering, athletes climb as many fixed routes as they can within four minutes, on a 4.5m-high wall (14.7638 feet), equipped with safety mats. The routes vary in difficulty and climbers are not permitted to practise climbing them in advance. When a climber grabs the final hold at the top of a route with both hands, they are deemed to have completed it. Climbers tackle the wall without safety ropes and can try a route again if they fall during their initial attempt.
The walls used for bouldering present a range of challenges, with overhangs and some holds so small that they can only be held by the fingertips. Climbers must plan each move carefully, thinking about which hand and foot to place in the next holds, while constantly being aware of the time limit. The physical and mental dexterity required for success is extraordinary.
Lead involves athletes attempting to climb as high as they can on a wall measuring more than 15m (49.2126 feet), in height within six minutes. The climbers use safety ropes and attach the rope to quickdraws (equipment that allows the rope to run freely while leading) along the route. When a climber attaches their rope to the top quickdraw, they have completed the climb. If a climber falls, the height (hold number) attained is recorded. There are no re-climbs.
If two or more athletes complete the climb or reach exactly the same height, the fastest to do so is declared the winner. This is a demanding whole-body activity and dynamic climbing techniques are greatly important.
For a list of PPL titles on rock and mountain climbing, click here.
BMX (Bicycle Motocross)
Boys’ Qualification of mixed BMX freestyle park at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires on 10 October 2018. Depicted: Evan Brandes.
BMX Freestyle has been around since the 1970s, but will debut at the 2020 Games. According to Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body for all cycling sports, BMX Freestyle is a spectacular discipline where the riders perform routines which consist of sequences of executing tricks. It can be carried out in various ways such as on flat ground, in the streets, on dirt jumps, a halfpipe and on constructed ramps. In competition, riders are judged on quality of their performance (difficulty, originality and style). Listing all of the names of various tricks would make this an extremely long blog post. Here is an incomplete list of BMX terms from Alligator Pit to X-Up.
BMX Racing made its Olympic debut in Beijing 2008. BMX Racing is raced on a 350m circuit. Eight riders launch themselves from an eight-metre high ramp and race over a track alternating bumps, banked corners and flat sections. The battle for first place is fierce, as it is necessary to finish in the first four of the heats to have a place in the next round and then in the final. Depending on the lay-out of the section, the riders try either to land quickly in order to gain speed, or to gain height (riders reach up to nearly five metres high).
MOTO: A single racing heat. BERM: An embankment on a track built up on the outside of a turn to create a banked curve. DOUBLE: A jump where two hills are placed close together. HOLE SHOT: Taking the lead position out of the starting gate and going into the first turn. ROLLER: An obstacle on a track that is rolled over as opposed to being jumped. RHYTHM SECTION: A series of jumps back to back on a track that pose as an obstacle. SNAKE: A cut in front of someone else suddenly, disturbing their run or causing them to fall. STAGING AREA: The area where the riders gather for loading into the gate. STARTING GATE: Flat formed area with a hinged portion, where each race begins. TABLE TOP: A jump on a track that is completely flat all the way across it from the takeoff to landing.