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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Unusual Questions

There's this woman who comes into the library every day and asks very unusual questions. (That's all I will say about her other than the fact that she's a very nice lady who seems to have run into some bad luck over the years.) What I love about my job is that I am pretty much required to treat all questions the same, no matter  how unusual or what the subject matter. After all, at the reference desk, there's no such thing as a stupid question. Right?

So here's my favorite "unusual" reference transaction of the week so far (starring the aforementioned lady):  

Her: "I need to know what Nostradamus predicted for December 21st. Something's going to happen."

Me: "Something's going to happen?"

Her: "Yes. God has something in mind for us."

Me: "Ok...kay. Well, I found this information..." (I explain to her what Nostradamus allegedly predicted.)

Her: "So there's nothing about a comet?"

Me: "I'd have to do some more research to be sure, but I don't see anything in this about a comet."

Her: "So you don't know if there would be people in that comet?"

Me: "I'm sorry?"

Her: "People. Landing from space".

Me: "...In the comet."

Her: "Yes."

Me: "That's probably not something you need to worry about."

Like I said, there's no such thing as a stupid question. But there ARE unusual questions, and quite honestly, I am thankful for them. 


  1. As I currently own a "dumb" phone and have decided to not upgrade, today I called the library redi-reference to find out what the low would be tonight b/c I work until 9pm. Your example is far more...dramatic.

  2. Haha, that's neither dumb nor unusual.

  3. Dear lady,


  4. I once had someone come to the reference desk (at a major big ten university) and ask "why are all the wars in this country fought on national parks? Didn't they realize where they were fighting?" Oh my.

  5. Today, a patron asked me "how lucky are your fingers?" Turns out, he was hoping I'd do better at finding what he needed on the Internet than he had. I was, but I'm not sure "lucky fingers" played any part.

    1. That transaction could have gone a totally different way...

  6. I have a regular patron who calls for books on very specific topics (zoroastrianism, WWI-era fighter planes, etc). He's a super nice guy, plus it's always nice to have a break from ereader questions. . .

  7. That's up there with one of our regular patrons who asked me for a book about aliens, with pictures of what they look like. Not "what they would look like if they existed" but what they actually, really, truly look like. And regularly asks all of us for books about talking animals ...