In addition to dealing with symmetrical book stacking and full-torso apparitions in basements, New York's librarians have had to field some pretty crazy questions in their day. Case in point: "What percentage of all bathtubs in the world are in the US?" As Gothamist tells it, the book-lender recently found a box full of reference questions ranging in origin from the 1940s to the 1980s, and has started posting pictures of them to its Instagram account. What's more, the answers are coming too. You know, just in case you wanted to know if black widow spiders were more harmful dead or alive. Seriously, someone actually asked that. Each Monday, the New York Public Library will post a new question but if you're feeling impatient Gothamist has a handful of them in advance. We're guessing at least a few librarians are happy there's a program in place enabling people to Google stuff for themselves now.
[Image credit: Associated Press]
So many reasons to celebrate this holiday week, first of which is this is our 1,000th post! And to thank you all for being such an awesome community, we are launching a new Monday series: #letmelibrarianthatforyou. We found an old recipe box while cleaning out a desk, and it was labeled "Interesting Reference Questions," the contents of which ranged from total stumpers to funny mispronunciations. People came to the library for reference, but also for info on buying and selling, looking for inspiration, crafty project ideas, and even to find photos. In a world pre-Google, librarians weren't just Wikipedia, they were people's Craiglist, Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram all rolled into one. "Is this the place where I ask questions I can't get answers to?" - Phone question, September 13, 1947
A photo posted by The New York Public Library (@nypl) on Dec 12, 2014 at 6:05am PST