'NYPL - Lion (Fortitude) and Truth' by Kathleen Tyler Conklin used under Creative Commons license  CC BY 2.0

‘NYPL – Lion (Fortitude) and Truth’ by Kathleen Tyler Conklin used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0

The New York Public Library has a very popular Instagram account with over 68,000 followers. In December, the Library started posting some old questions recorded in those pre-internet days and started using the hashtag #letmelibrarianthatforyou

This program very quickly gained media attention (here, here and here) , inspired other libraries to share their stories on Twitter, and librarian Rosa Caballero-Li was even interviewed on NPR about the project.

The questions, each originally recorded on a classic catalog card, are being given new life in the digital age. They are in insight into how much has changed and yet still the same.

Below are selections from their collection.

So many reasons to celebrate this holiday week, first of which is this is our 1,000th post! And to thank you all for being such an awesome community, we are launching a new Monday series: #letmelibrarianthatforyou. We found an old recipe box while cleaning out a desk, and it was labeled "Interesting Reference Questions," the contents of which ranged from total stumpers to funny mispronunciations. People came to the library for reference, but also for info on buying and selling, looking for inspiration, crafty project ideas, and even to find photos. In a world pre-Google, librarians weren't just Wikipedia, they were people's Craiglist, Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram all rolled into one. "Is this the place where I ask questions I can't get answers to?" – Phone question, September 13, 1947

A post shared by The New York Public Library (@nypl) on


  1. KRLemmons · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Lifelong Quest.

  2. Reblogged this on librarianAHOY! and commented:
    But above all things…

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