Before The Internet, What People Asked New York Public Library's Librarians?

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Before there was the Internet and Google, the only way to find answers to a pressing question was to visit the local library and ask the all-knowing librarian.

A few years ago, the staff at the New York Public Library discovered a box of cards containing questions posed to the librarian by members of the public. These question were asked either in person or received via telephone. The telephone “ask a librarian” service was set up in 1967 and operates to this day. And surprisingly, despite people having information on their finger tips these days, the New York Public Library receives roughly 30,000 calls per year.

“Any statistics on the life span of the abandoned woman?”, a caller wanted to know in 1963.

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