What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant? and other reference queries.

As librarians, I'm sure we've all had a few memorable reference queries in our time.

Just before Christmas the query I received was simply "I want to buy books", resisting the urge to commend them for their bibliophile leanings I directed them to appropriate channels for the purchase of books. There was a few seconds of just staring at the statement with .... and? you want books on what? what kind of books?

Of course, a number of the more embarrassing questions no longer pass our reference desks (hat tip to Google). You've probably seen images of the New York Public Library reference question cards from the 1940s to the 1980s doing the rounds. In case you missed it, the Before Google ... Who Knew? article here rounds up a few gems. You can even seen scanned copies of some of the original questions in the Before the Internet, Librarians Would 'Answer Everything' - And Still Do.


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