q and a.



back in my advertising days

i often had to find answers to odd questions of all kinds

as there was no google then

 when i exhausted all possible avenues

(asking 2 or 3 random people in my office)

i knew there was a place i could go to find someone

who would unfailingly find an answer to my questions

i dialed up the local phone number

of the woman sitting at a desk in the detroit public library

who held the very interesting and important position of

 ‘chief and brilliant question answerer/researcher’

(or some such title as i imagined it to be)

she answered my call

when i asked in all seriousness:

“did gumby (of gumby and pokey fame), have a nose?”

she did not waver or judge and said she would research it and get back to me asap

true to her word she returned my call within the hour with this report:

she could confirm

that gumby did indeed, have a nose


client crisis averted

just another moment in her day and i wish this position still existed.

“i used to think i knew all the answers.

then i thought knew maybe a few of the answers.

now I’m not even sure I understand the questions.

nobody knows anything.”

― pete nelson, american author

67 responses »

  1. With research so accessible now at our fingertips, I must wonder where the source of information existed before we had technology. Somehow, I can’t imagine the answer to your question appeared in the encyclopedia sets we grew up with!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These folks do in fact still exist in our public libraries, Beth (and beetleypete above) I can happily report. Librarians dutifully sit at the reference desk (or information desk if you wish to call it) and help patrons who walk up with this question or that. And yes they still take phone calls. I think back in that day, Beth, the racks of encyclopedias, books and magazines and a great mind knowing where to look was the key. Now, yes, the computer next to them helps but still you need to know best searching methods!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t recall calling a librarian to get an answer. I was sure all the answers were somewhere in one of the volumes of our World Book Encyclopedia, the source of all knowledge (for the year of publication, at least).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I know. In the days bg (before google) I owned rows and rows of encyclopaedia, history tomes the size of the chicken shed, we asked around and for simple questions we had a ‘pay for’ info phone number 11….. the minute cost more and more and eventually there were no offices any longer and telephone directories didn’t get made any more. Great story


  5. I don’t think I ever called a librarian for information. I just went to the library when we lived close to one and looked for answers. Of course, those kinds of questions never came up in our house. I think my kids read most of the books in the library and I read what they didn’t. 😉 We took a wagon to the library.

    Liked by 1 person

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