Can you remember the last time you set foot in a library? Not many people can. But while the digital age may have steered folks away from public bookshelves, and forced libraries to adapt to social and technological changes, libraries and librarians will always be an invaluable aspect of human history.
For centuries, libraries have been the primary source for seekers of knowledge and information.
Before there was the internet and search engines such as Google, there was the librarian. Recently, the New York Public Library stumbled upon a time capsule of questions posed from the 1940s to the ’80s. Needless to say, some of the questions asked were really strange, such as “Is it proper to go alone to Reno to get a divorce?” or “Does the female human being belong to the mammal class?”
The New York Public Library has been posting photos of these questions from their archive onto its Instagram account with the hashtag #letmelibrarianthatforyou. Every Monday they will be sharing a new photo showcasing the various entries received over the years.
Despite popular misconception, not everything can be found online. The internet does not replace libraries.
Librarians are actually the most capable professionals to guide scholars and citizens toward a better understanding of how to find valuable information.
Librarian Rosa Caballero-Li told NPR that more than 100 questions are submitted into the Reference and Research Services desk every single day.
“We answer everything,” Caballero-Li told NPR. “Patrons can call us and reach out to us for anything they feel curious about, any service that they need — and I think that surprises a lot of people. There are no stupid questions. Everything is a teachable moment. We don’t embarrass people; we try to answer any questions they have with honesty and we try to refer them to appropriate resources that they might find useful.”