In the days before Google, how did people find out answers to important questions?
They went to the library, of course – and not just to look up their area of interest in an encyclopedia.
At the New York Public Library, librarians look after a service that allows people to call up and ask whatever questions they desperately need an answer for.
When someone calls the number, a live librarian will use their library archives to try to find an answer.
These days, most people do just head to Google, but thankfully New York librarians have taken it upon themselves to memorialise some of the best questions they’ve been asked over the years.
The library keeps record of all the strange and wonderful questions librarians get asked over the phone, keeping them written on notes in an ‘unusual questions’ file.
Take a look at some of the questions that baffled librarians below.
Does anyone have a copyright on the Bible?
‘Does the female human being belong to the mammal class?’
‘I couldn’t pick up a dead mouse!’
‘Do you have any books on human beings?
What percentage of bathtubs in the world are in the U.S.?
‘Why do 18th century paintings have so many squirrels in them, and how did they tame them so that they wouldn’t bite the painter?’
‘What is the natural enemy of the duck?’
‘I would like to know something about the physical characteristics of Hitler. I think I’ve found him – he walks heavier on one foot and everything’
‘Can I get a book telling me how to be mistress of ceremonies at a musical orgy?’