Im Artikel «Before The Internet, Librarians Would ‹Answer Everything› — And Still Do» erinnert sich die New York Public Library an die Zeit vor Google – als Bibliothekare via Telefon alle möglichen Fragen beantworteten. Auf ihrem Instagram-Account veröffentlichen sie ergänzend archivierte Karteikarten mit einst gestellten Fragen. Heute wird der Auskunftsschalter trotz Internet immer noch rege benutzt:
«Librarian Rosa Caballero-Li says that today, more than 100 questions still come into the NYPL’s Reference and Research Services desk every 24 hours. It’s not just fact checking — it’s questions of etiquette, opinion, contact information, even shopping.
«We answer everything,» Caballero-Li tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. «Patrons can call us and reach out to us for anything they feel curious about, any service that they need — and I think that surprises a lot of people.»
In fact, she says there’s a surprising amount of overlap between the questions from the archive and the questions she fields in 2014. «These are questions that we are answering still, today, and we will probably be answering tomorrow, as well,» she says.
There are questions of etiquette, questions about the Bible and — especially in the days after Christmas — a lot of people want to know how to download e-books onto their brand new e-readers.
Caballero-Li says plenty of people call the library because they don’t have access to the Internet, but others call after they couldn’t find a satisfactory answer on Google.
«You can find a lot of information online, of course, and that’s great,» she says. «But when you can’t, or when you have too many answers, or you can’t quite distinguish fact from fiction, that’s when you reach out to us.»
Librarians are «information specialists,» she says, and can help point patrons to resources that aren’t available online. Also, sometimes there’s just something about speaking to a human being.»