Before Google: New York Public Library digs up old box full of bizarre questions New Yorkers asked librarians

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NEW YORK -- When most of us have a burning question that needs an immediate answer, we almost always turn to Google.

It’s hard to even imagine a world without it.

So where did New Yorkers turn before search engines dictated what we inquired about? The New York Public Library, apparently.

Whether it was a trivial dilemma or an annoying inquiry, librarians were yielding it all back in the day.

A recently discovered box of note cards at a library office revealed the burning questions that were eating up New Yorkers.

From “what kind of an apple did eve eat?”  to “why do 18-th century english paintings have so many squirrels in them?”, it appears little has changed in our realm of inquisitiveness.

The discovered cards are being posted on the NYPL official Instagram account.

“Is it proper to go alone to Reno to get a divorce” asked one caller.

Where another wants to know “does the female human being belong to the mammal class?”

Librarians did their best to find answers.

“If we had the answer at our finger tips, if the library knew it or if they had a reference book right there that they could use to answer the question – they would do their best to answer it in a 5-minute time limit,” Bernard VanMaarseveen, Assistant Director at Ask NYPL.

VanMaarseveen is still one of the many yielding questions from New York’s most curious.

“Right now I am working on a question, someone wants to know how many blocks are there in Manhattan,” he revealed to PIX11 News. Despite making several calls to several city agencies, he said no one seems to know.

Whether it be by phone, text, chat or email, questions are getting asked around the clock.

When it comes to stuff they don’t answer?

“If it’s medical or legal, we stay away from it,” VanMaarseveen said. “We’re librarians – not lawyers or doctors.”

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