Ask Us Anything And We Will Answer…Google Before Computers

Ask Us Anything And We Will Answer...Google Before Computers

Remember what it was like when you needed a question answered, and you consulted a book and not Google? Back in the analogue age, we consulted unweildy encyclopaedias which smelt of dusty paper and a pleasant musty ink.

Or you could ask the New York Public Library?

By writing on a little cue-card, which was researched and promptly answered by a real life human librarian.

Ask Us Anything And We Will Answer...Google Before Computers

Ask Us Anything And We Will Answer...Google Before Computers

 

Back in the day though people asked weird and random questions to the New York Public Library as Google wasn’t invented yet. In 2014, the NYPL have released a series of intensely personal and yet universally interesting questions that people have needed answering from decades spanning the 1940’s to the late 1980’s.

Ask Us Anything And We Will Answer...Google Before Computers

 

Ask Us Anything And We Will Answer...Google Before Computers

NYPL still perform this admirable public service

Although they have now shifted irrevocably to the digital age. See more about their now online Ask Us Anything service.

Ask Us Anything And We Will Answer...Google Before Computers

Some more timeless condundrums and kerfuffles

  • Is it possible to keep an octopus in a private home?

  • I just saw a mouse in the kitchen. Is DDT OK to use? (1946)

  • Does NYPL have a computer for us of the public? Answer: No sir! (1966)

  • What did women use for shopping backs before paper bags?

  • Are black widow spiders more harmful dead or alive?

  • Is it proper to go to Reno alone to get a divorce? (1945)

  • Are Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates the same person?

  • Can NYPL recommend a good forger?

  • Where can I rent a beagle for hunting (1963). We also had requests to rent a guillotine.

  • Has the gun with which Oswald shot President Kennedy been returned to the family?

  • What is the life span of an eyelash? Answer: Based on the book Your hair and its care, it’s 150 days.

  • What is the life span of an eyebrow hair?

  • Does the Bible have a copyright?

  • What percentage of all bathtubs in the world are in the US?

  • Can you tell me the thickness of a US Postage stamp with the glue on it? Answer: We cannot get this answer quickly. Perhaps try the Postal Service. Response: This is the Postal Service.

  • What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant?

  • How do you put up wallpaper?

  • A question from New Year’s Day 1967: I unexpectedly stayed over somewhere last night. Is it appropriate to send a thank you?

  • What’s the difference between pig and pork?What kind of glass should I use in my greenhouse in Cuba?

  • Can mice throw up?

 

Enjoy more of these by using the hashtag #letmelibrarianthatforyou to find more each week on Instagram!

 

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4 Comments

  1. This is a super post, Athena. I love some of the questions and will use the hashtag you provided to see more of them.

    Thanks for sharing this!!

    Regards,
    Eric

    1. Thanks Eric for your support and I’m so glad you find this enjoyable. It seems that the world is full of lots of insatiably curious people who are fascinated by weird things like we are 🙂

  2. Absolutely priceless!

    From: Content Catnip Reply-To: Content Catnip Date: Monday, 5 January 2015 6:02 PM To: Nancy Patton Subject: [New post] Ask Us Anything And We Will AnswerŠGoogle Before Computers

    WordPress.com Content Catnip posted: “Remember what it was like when you needed a question answered, and you consulted a book and not Google? Back in the analogue age, we consulted unweildy encyclopaedias which smelt of dusty paper and a pleasant musty ink. Or you could ask the New York Publ”

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