Can you stump the librarian?

Let me introduce myself: I am a librarian.  I wear no glasses, I do no shushing, and I don’t have enough hair for a bun, but I do admit a rabid fondness for good cardigan sweaters.  I am one of a devoted team who strive to ensure that every one of the 20,000 students at OU (and faculty, and staff) are able to find the information they seek.  My colleagues and I inhabit Kresge Library, a shining beacon on the hill of knowledge (or so we prefer to think). 

Of course, the shine is a little dusty at the moment, as we are surrounded by construction, but we are still here to welcome all and any seeking knowledge and answers to life’s questions . . . and we get a lot of questions. 

Last year, for example, we answered over 20,000 questions, from the bizarre to the mundane and everything in-between.  Some are easy, some are hard, but we librarians pride ourselves on, if not having the answer, being able to find a pathway to the answer. 

Did you know, for example, that the library has a book listing every photographic patent granted in America from 1840-1880?  Did you know we have an entire database that provides you with qualitative assessments of journals?  We do.  And we know a lot more. 

We are curious folk, you see, and we hoard ideas and information like magpies.  We also have thousands upon thousands of resources here at our disposal—an overwhelming collection, yes, but that is what we and this column are for: to help you learn to help yourselves in our vast resources.

So the challenge is yours: put on your thinking caps* and see if you can stump the librarians at Kresge by sending in your questions.  We welcome the bizarre, the impossible, and the questions that come to mind only after three days of no sleep and constant schoolwork.   Send your anonymous questions into the aether at email me (if you want to share your identity) at [email protected].   Each week, hopefully, this column will highlight a question and provide our method for answering said question.

And if you’re too anxious to wait for my words of wisdom, keep in mind that librarians are available any time the library is open—even at 2am!  You can contact us at any time by email, phone, chat, or stopping by.

*speaking of which, did you know that the first recorded instance of the term “thinking cap” is recorded from a Methodist women’s journal in 1864?  Prior to that, you were most likely to see the term “considering cap.”  (See the fascinating Oxford English Dictionaryfor much more knowledge about English words and their history.)