Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Keep Those Calls and Letters Coming ...

Last month, Central Library staff answered 5,546 phone calls for the library system. This service began in 1992, when Sacramento Library branches were faced with a "down" economy and chose to centralize phone service in favor of preserving public service hours. We're still going strong, and answer all kinds of questions, ranging from library hours to help with library accounts, to all kinds of informational questions.

Here are a couple of questions we had fun with in May:

Q. What percent of the current world population is the population of the United States?
A. The Population Clock on the U.S. Census Bureau's web site on the day we answered the question showed a world population of 6,670,597,757 and a U.S. population of 304,193,202. So, a little bit of math later, we calculated the U.S. population is 4.56% of the world population.

Q. What is Sacramento County's credit rating?
A. With a free registration at Moodys or Standard and Poor, searching for "Sacramento County" yielded ratings ranging from BBB to AAA.

Q. What public transportation was available in Houston, TX between 1940-1945?
A. We found two web sites that yielded the following: There was a streetcar system owned by Stone and Webster and renamed Houston Electric Company. It began a transition to buses in 1929 to mitigate rising costs. In 1940 the rail car system was shut down, and HEC switched to an all-bus transit system. In 1940 there were 56 million riders; in 1945 there were a record 130 million riders. The web sites: Book Review: Houston Electric - The Street Railways of Houston, Texas and Houston Institute for Culture : Houston Timeline .

If you have a burning question, give us a call at 916-264-2920 or send an e-mail to askus@saclibrary.org. We'll do our best to answer it.

1 comment:

PeonInChief said...

I love the email ask us feature. I can send some impossible question and get the answer by the next day. It's wonderful!