The New York Public Library Shares Amazing Questions

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has taken to Instagram to share some fascinating, mind-bending, and humorous questions written from the 1940’s through the 1980’s. Before Internet search engines, those with questions that seemed to have no answer could turn to the NYPL’s librarians for answers. Lucky for us, the company’s Reference and Research Services archived a number of the questions, which have been preserved quite nicely on little pieces of aging yellow paper.  They include some truly magnificent questions:

We would love to see how that one was answered! This one, too… 

In the age of Google, where our most embarrassing and honest question can be kept a secret (well…kind of), it’s both entertaining and enlightening to read these anonymous questions. Some of these were definitely from college students.


One might say it’s a hair-raising question… #letmelibrarianthatforyou

A photo posted by The New York Public Library (@nypl) on 

Great inquiry from March 3rd, 1948: “Life-cycle of an eye-brow hair.” Some even include a preface…

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