Libraries have always been about more than just housing and lending books. Before the internet (!), most people asked questions of librarians. You could look things up in the dictionary or the encyclopedia or other reference book, but what if you didn’t have a dictionary or encyclopedia? You went to the library and looked it up there – or you asked a librarian. Some libraries even took questions by phone. Librarians are still amazing information-finders. I have used the Ask a Librarian service myself within the last year, though I can now do it through the county library’s website. (I got my info, too – in 24 hours, even!)
I have no doubt whatsoever people are still asking these same questions. It’s just that now, the internet lets you look things up more anonymously.
Check out some of the questions people asked of the New York Public Library before the internet.
Thank you, librarians, for putting up with us patrons all these years!