What is the Easiest Question?

Librarians get a lot of questions. Most of the time, students want answers. Sometimes, they just want to make a point.

So when TNL was asked recently, what is the easiest question she has had to answer, the old girl paused and looked around for the hidden camera. Camera aside, the grad student who asked the stumper insisted TNL answered his question.

You know, folks, another thing to note about questions. One is never enough. So before TNL knew it, she was sucked into a convoluted discussion with the student on water desalination, revenues, government support, bonds, R&D, water consumption, primary data vs. secondary data, noise levels in libraries, study habits, alumni access to electronic resources. It just went on.

The easiest question should have been answered, shouldnt it? And it was Frost and Sullivan. There you go.

Here is another one.  How do you retrieve a list of MNCs in Singapore?

1. Use Osiris.

2. Select Expert Search. At Search Criteria Locator, look at Ownership Data, select Foreign Subsidiaries.

3. Ensure Foreign Country is Singapore.


  1. It’s not easy to handle questions, especially difficult and hostile ones. Well, the next time someone asks you a tough question, try repeating the question in your own words. Some people might not be aware that the questions they asked are phrased in a hostile or unfriendly manner. There are also people who like to play with words. But when you repeat the question back to them (“Are you saying…”) and expose their intention in plain words, it becomes clear to them. This is also a good way to clear up any communication misunderstanding. Hope this helps! 🙂

  2. The Naked Librarian

    Thanks for the tip. Yes, indeed. One should always ask whether one has got the question right before answering. And instead of repeating the question again, TNL usually para-phrases. This helps in getting a discussion going and hence, a better understanding of what is required.

  3. I can’t agree more. Para-phrasing also gives the impression that you’re an empathetic listener. Thank you!

  4. Pingback: People We Remember |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *