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What are the toughest questions tossed at reference librarians?

Think it's easy being a librarian? Think again!

By Randy Dotinga / September 16, 2011

What's a manometer and where can I find one?

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I spent much of my non-misspent youth in a library, and at least a couple borrowed books are usually lurking around my home. This all makes it especially hard for me to bear the cutbacks at libraries here in San Diego.

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Almost all of the city's branch libraries close on Sundays and Mondays and only stay open in the evening, until just 8 p.m., twice a week. The aging central library in downtown shuts its doors on Saturdays, and that's not likely to change even when it's replaced by a grand new building next year. (That is, if donors can rustle up the $28 million needed to finish construction.)

I asked the city librarian about the system's struggles in an interview for a local news website. The story appeared earlier this month, and it didn't take long for cranky online commenters to descend.

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