REFERENCE

Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers: A Little Book of Whimsy and Wisdom from the Files of the New York Public Library

Griffin: St. Martin’s. 2019. 159p. ISBN 9781250203625. $18.99. REF
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Research librarians from the New York Public Library take a peek into the archives, responding to questions posed by patrons between about 1940 and 1980. Is it possible to keep an octopus in a private home? (Legal, yes, but probably not easy.) What time is “high noon”? (1945: 12 p.m. 2019: still 12 p.m.) And students then, as now, appealed for help: Can you give me the structural deficiencies of Beowulf?
VERDICT This amusing, occasionally enlightening work is a testament to the sleuthing skills of reference librarians and an excellent diversion from more serious research queries.

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