Weighing a Stamp

8c1eb47b-a70a-463b-a77b-18c2dfc5de45-620x620In days of yore before the Internet, many of life’s odd little questions were directed to the reference desks of local libraries. Indeed, libraries continue to staff reference desks today.

A cache of such questions, neatly catalogued on cards, is now being published by the New York Public Library. They range from the quirky, “What does it mean when you dream you’re being chased by an elephant?” to the puzzling, “Why do 18th century English paintings have so many squirrels in them, and how did they tame them so that they wouldn’t bite the painter?” to the stuff of Mommy and Me blogs, “Where can I find something on the comical aspects of pregnancy?”

But perhaps my favorite is in the form of an exchange:

“Could you tell me the thickness of a US Postage Stamp with the glue on it?”

“Sorry we couldn’t tell you that quickly, why don’t you try the post office.”

“This is the post office.”

And why the post office needed to know that will remain one of life’s mysteries.

2 thoughts on “Weighing a Stamp

  1. Terry Diefenbach says:

    Questions to and about the PO are hard to answer it seems. Right now here in Europe, proper POs seem to have become a rarity – at least in the places we’ve been in Holland and Germany so far. But after reading this post, I know where we should have gone to find what the right postage is for a card to the US from Germany: a library! Tomorrow is Sunday when everything is closed so we’ll wait till Monday when hopefully I can find proper info and stamps and start sending my usual travel cards to the folks back home.

  2. Phoebe Conn says:

    I recall running into the San Marino library one afternoon needing to know how tobacco was raised for a historical novel. I couldn’t find any books on tobacco, but the reference librarian pointed me toward a set of encyclopedias that had an article on how the crop is raised. Saved the day!

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