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Ah, the internet. It’s hard to imagine life without it these days, when you think about our heavy dependency on it for almost everything – entertainment, communication, information. I do, vaguely, remember Before Internet, though, where all my school assignments relied on research conducted at the library from a pile of actual IRL books about said topic. Fortunately, by the time I hit high school, dial-up internet was a real thing in my life and things just got rosier from there.

Imagine, though, having a curly question that books might not have the answers to, back in the 1950s – what was your Google then? Welp, apparently librarians were the OG search engine and these reference cards found in the New York Public Library’s archives are hilarious proof.

To be uploaded to their Instagram account (and previewed by the team at Mental Floss) as part of the series #letmelibrarianthatforyou, these puzzlers were found in a box marked ‘Interesting Reference Questions’ and prove that humans have always been kind of idiots. I mean, imagine bombarding a real person with your pre-pubescent curiosities? Or, for that matter, all of your NSFW adult enquiries. Take a look at some of the oddest questions posed to NYPL’s staff above and thank Based God for the anonymity of the internet search engine.


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