Best of LibraryLand on the Internet: “Weirdest Request” Edition


People are sharing the oddest requests they've gotten at the library - how many have you experienced?

Many people outside of LibraryLand think that librarians spend their days sitting around reading books. Then there are those who think that librarians have superpowers ranging from time travel to podiatry. Over on the ThinkTank group on Facebook, someone started a thread asking for the oddest requests that people have seen at their library. The answers are hilarious:

Pictures of a "real" fairy...

Lynne said: "we were asked for a book with photos of real fairies. Not sketches, cartoons, or the ology books like the ones you keep suggesting,' she said. 'And my daughter is particularly interested in winter fairies."

On this note, a lot of patrons are also interested in photos of Jesus, and dinosaurs. Not drawings. Actual photos. Who knew librarians had the ability to travel back in time with their cameras?!

Pet Mortuary...

Chris said: "I was phoned and told that the caller had found a dead cat in her pot plant. She wanted me to go around and remove it. I asked if she realized she had called the library. She did."

Shoe Advice...

Tia writes: "I spent over an hour on the phone with a lady talking about shoes. I kept giving her the number of a local shoe place, but she instead kept talking to me, and I must have explained to her about 30 times the difference between Orthopedic Inserts and Regular shoe inserts. She called me back and then talked to me for another 40 minutes about the same thing, except this time about what her doctor had told her, and what I thought. I kept telling her to just go with what her doctor told her because, and I'll quote myself here 'That's what they're paid for, and they can answer any questions better than I can about your health, along with that shoe place!'. This became an ongoing saga.

Next time she called back she kept saying that the phone number I gave her was a long distance number and she couldn't do long distance, despite the shoe place literally being on the same street as the library, not even a block away. I told her to just go into the shoe store and they could help her as opposed to me acting as some kind of middle man between her and the shoe store over the phone.

The last installment of the Saga of the Shoe Lady actually involved a coworker of mine. They were trying to get into their email to get a coupon for Shoe Carnival, however they didn't know the password, didn't have a mobile with them, nor had they set up a backup email so there was no way to retrieve this email. My coworker offered to help them set up another email for them, but she said no and that they'd email Shoe Carnival... to get their Gmail password...

Biblical Scholarship....

Joshua writes: "I still like the question that I and another librarian worked on “What was the carrying capacity of a donkey in the time of Jesus?”

Synonym Practice...

Batt responded with this gem of a query they got asking whether materials in the library were: "To loan, or just for use?"

Elevator 101...

Lots of patrons have questions about elevators work. Read this thread:

Tiffany started it with this confused patrons who isn't sure if elevators go up and down: "I have a stroller, does your elevator go upstairs and downstairs?"

Ella said she's had her own questions from patrons fearful of being stuck in some kind of black hole... "OMG, I have also been asked where our "down" elevator was, as the patron did not want to "get stuck upstairs."

Questionable elevator skills aren't too unusual, according to Tiffany, who came back with: "on more than one occasion the Fire Department has shown up for people claiming they are stuck in the elevator because they don't know the door opened behind them. I have a sign now."

This is like that...
Ella says, "I have a million billion of these but one of my favorite is whether we were a hospital, because, according to the gentleman 'You guys have a lot of books, like they do at hospitals.'

Home Ec Tutorials...

Courtney says: "We had a gentleman come in and ask us how to fold a fitted sheet once. He brought one in with him and I showed him how. It had little boats on it."

What's the oddest request you've ever had at the library? Leave a comment below!

About the author 

Heather Teysko

Heather Teysko is head of community and engagement for Library Lever, and she loves running the Common Stacks Podcast. She's been in Library Land for close to 20 years, with a career that has focused on technology and ebooks. She is also passionate about history, having built a website on Colonial American history in 1998 that got to #1 on Yahoo (when that was a thing) has been podcasting on Tudor England since 2009, and her podcast The Renaissance English History Podcast has a social following of over 50,000 people. She has published several books including Sideways and Backwards: a Novel of Time Travel and Self Discovery, which was negatively compared to Outlander in several Amazon reviews, despite the fact that it is set in a completely different time period, but the comparison still feels like an honor.
You can follow her on twitter @teysko.

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