The Meatloaf Emergency and Other Interesting Questions


I was perusing through our historical clippings (highly distracting and fascinating by the way) and came across this little gem. “Lansing Public Library Gets Odd Requests was in the Lansing State Journal on December 16 1945.

Some of the requests mentioned:

  • “How do I raise angle worms for profit?”
  • “What is the weight of a bushel of tomatoes?”
  • “What is another term for mercy killing?”
  • “What is the function of an iconoscope* and how is it operated?”

One of my favorite requests was a guy who called in a panic because his wife had left him a raw meatloaf for his dinner and he had no idea how to prepare it.  I looked up how long it needed to be baked. I think it’s great that he even thought to call the library!

People who don’t work in libraries think of the requests we get as “odd,” but we think of them as business as usual.  Today we get things like:

  • “I need to find a good picture of a tiger for my tattoo.”
  • “How do you get an email address?”
  • We still get the standard telephone number and address lookups as well. We are happy that people think of us when they need help.

Ask us @ 517-367-6346 or ask online.

The article also features strange things that people leave in books as bookmarks. Yes, that still happens. My favorite thing mentioned was BACON. Ewww. But they neglected to show the bacon in the picture. No fair.

*The iconoscope was the first practical television-camera for picture pickup, invented in 1923 by Vladimir Kosma Zworykin.

-Anne R., Reference Librarian @ CADL

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