Library Queries


Before there was Google, there was the New York Public Library. Library patrons could query librarians by writing out questions on notecards. The NYPL found a set of vintage cards, and has been publishing them on Instagram. The Guardian shares some of the best questions, like this one from 1947:

What does it mean when you dream you’re being chased by an elephant?

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →