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#LetMeLibrarianThatForYou Confirms Librarians Fielded the Weirdest Questions Pre-Google

Probably still do.

NYPL Ah, librarians: Blessed with much knowledge and so many weird questions. This was especially true pre-Google, as the New York Public Library’s instagram set about proving this week. NYPL posted the photo above on the 22nd, alongside the following captions:

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

As NYPL spokesperson Angela Montefinise told NPR:

We were Google before Google existed. If you wanted to know if a poisonous snake dies if it bites itself, you’d call or visit us.

#Letmelibrarianthatforyou has brought about many wonders in its short life so far. For instance:


This one might be my personal favorite if only for the vivid story it teases:

And Mental Floss snagged a peek at some of the ones that haven’t been posted to NYPL’s Instagram yet:



This one’s a head-scratcher:

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 4.47.07 PM

You can read a lot more great ones over at Mental Floss.

Any librarians out there have more stories to add to all this?

(via Buzzfeed) (Images via New York Public Library/Instagram, Mental Floss)

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Alanna is a pop culture writer who works as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, an entertainment writer for Bustle, and a freelancer for everywhere. She has a lot of opinions about Harry Potter and will 100% bully you into watching the shows that she loves. Don't worry, it's a sign of friendship.