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Questions that lead to discoveries

August 8, 2012

I’m a self-confessed seeker of questions to answer – I get a thrill from being a Reference Librarian and enjoy messing around with the monthly Slam the Boards. But more than that I find myself intrigued by questions on a daily basis. I watch Global Village, Thalassa, and Grand Designs because these shows both pose questions about the way people live as well as answer those self-same questions – each is a journey of discovery, and I get to tag along for the ride.

More often than not though I find myself picking out authors who I know will teach me something unusual within their works, will answer unasked indeed as-yet-un-thought-of questions. Following the adventures of Agent Pendergast and Lieutenant D’Agosta in their series by authors Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston has taught me snippets of Latin and Police procedural that’s interesting to know, Colleen McCullough’s Carmine Delmonico series set in 1960’s Connecticut has brought back to me the struggles of the emerging black rights movement in America and teaches much about the racism of that period, American Gods by Neil Gaiman shines a new and unusual light on the myths and legends of the Norse Gods. It seems that every book I read has some piece of information or curious detail to share, something for me to know. How many of us learned the ins and outs of crime and mystery at the feet of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wily creation Sherlock Holmes, let alone caught a glimpse as to what true friendship was? How many times have we read a story or watched a show, or even received a piece of mail to then reach out towards our trusty Atlas and find the location of a country or town or region and discover something about it (okay, so I’m a chronic Atlas reader).

But the point is that each day we pose questions and seek answers, just as fiction may teach me a snippet of Latin so too Loani Prior’s delightful books might inspire me to knit some amazing tea cosies (if only I could knit, *sigh*). Just as my Atlas might expand my visual appreciation of the world itself, so too might my following of NASA’s twitter stream might expand my appreciation of the solar system and beyond.

I have to admit though, that the very best thing about being a Reference Librarian is that each question leads to a discovery.

What question did you ask in your reading today?


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