Even More Frequently Asked Questions: The Rest of the Story

“Question Mark” by Karen Eliot via Flickr

According to Wikipedia, the question and answer format for information dissemination has been around for centuries; the acronym, FAQ, not so long.  (I call it F-A-Q. You can call it what you like.  I don’t judge.)

Touro Library has prepared a list of common questions we receive, with answers.  You can find them here, or see them where they live, depicted below.


Every so often, I receive questions not on the list.  I thought you might like to see them, with answers of course.

Q. I thought this was supposed to be a library.  Why don’t you have the book I want?

A. In 2011 alone, there were over a million and a half new titles published.  I can’t have them all.  If the book you want is a new textbook that is the best source of information in the field, someone should have told us to buy it.  That someone can be you.

Q. My classmate borrowed a book from you.  Where is my copy?

A. In your classmate’s backpack.  Or at another Touro library location.  Check the catalog to see if one is available.  It is rare for us to have more than one copy of a specific edition of a title.  Sorry about that.  I can’t have them all.

Q.  My professor told us that my class could get the book Interpreter of Maladies here. Is that so?

A. Seriously?!  Someone can get it.  If you were told that you all could get it, you all were misinformed.  This is not a bookstore, so I don’t have enough for everyone.  Have you considered borrowing privileges at a public library?

Q.  I want to get my textbook online. Why can’t I? I have a login and password for off-campus access.

A.  Cool. You are a sophisticated library user, and I respect that.  However, to get your book online it must exist in an electronic format, and we have to have purchased it in that format.

Q.  I need the lab manual.  Where is it?

A.  Most probably in an online bookstore.  Touro Libraries does not purchase lab manuals, primarily because they beg to be written in, and you just can’t stop yourselves.  (You know I’m talking about you, Sammy!)  And by the way, stop turning the pages of Touro Library books into your own personal origami.  These books are not yours, so please don’t fold down the corners to make a paper crane. What’s wrong with you? Haven’t you ever heard of a bookmark?

Q. I borrowed a book about  Franz Kafka, but I returned it.  Now I need the information from it for my bibliography.  Can you look up what I took out?

A.  No.  Once you return the book it is wiped clean from your account. Your only recourse is to retrace your steps.  It you searched the catalog for the LC (non-medical) Subject =  Kafka, Franz you will find most books about this author are in the PT 2621 area of the library.

Q. I am writing a how-to-guide for the advanced serial killer. Why don’t you have books on that?

A.  We buy materials that relate to the courses we teach, and Touro does not offer Serial Killer 101.  Check the public library for books, and the database for articles.  You never know what you will find.

Q. Do you have a bathroom in the Library?

A. Of course, we are not animals.  I’ll even tell you where it is.



Contributed by: Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown Library

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