Photograph by Andrea Booher, Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

Understanding 9/11

This year marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, when terrorists hijacked four airplanes and turned them into missiles aimed at major U.S. landmarks. The attacks resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and continue to shape our world.

Learn about the 9/11 attacks, their context and their legacy via the resources below. You will also see information about the library’s programs marking the 20th anniversary.


Learn about 9/11

See below for a list of nonfiction resources about 9/11, the roots of the attacks and their continued impact. All books and documentaries are available in the library’s collection.

There are also a number of reliable sources online to learn about the history of 9/11. These include:

Programs at the Library

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum produced a poster exhibition, “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World.” The exhibition “presents the history of 9/11, its origins, and its ongoing implications. It explores the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and communities at the local, national, and international levels, and encourages critical thinking about the legacies of 9/11.” It will be on view on the first floor of the library from Aug. 28 through Sept. 18.

Join us on Sept. 9 in the Community Room for a staged reading of a new work, “After the Dust Settles,” by New Jersey–based playwright Jason Immordino. The play highlights three stories of unresolved grief, healing and renewal in a post-9/11 landscape. To learn more and register, click here.

The Library’s Teen Advisory Board will use social media to explore connections between 9/11 and the Princeton community, identifying sites of commemoration and highlighting reliable sources for their peers. To listen to oral histories from Princeton residents that reference 9/11, visit the Voices of Princeton website.

Resources for Educators

Teaching about 9/11 can be challenging, especially given the nature of the content and the proximity of the anniversary to the beginning of the school year. See the lesson plans below for potential starting points for engaging learners.

Content made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities