Library News

Let me ask you a question

We, the fierce keepers of knowledge, the diligent overseers of information and access, the meek and mild (yet somehow loud) the elderly ladies adorned in cardigans and glasses, the infamous and stern collectors of fines, the rambunctious “shushers” of the whispering world; we the librarians at Sedona Public Library . . . We’re pretty much nothing like that at all. Except for maybe the cardigans and glasses. I definitely wear cardigans and glasses. Many of us do!  


Today’s librarians proudly stand ready to battle the evil forces of misinformation, disinformation, rumor, and heresay. Where do we do this, you ask? At the last bastion of order in a chaotic world—the Reference Desk! Or “Fort Ref,” as we like to call it. We labor away at this fortress, waiting with the steely-eyed, quiet strength of the literary soldiers you’ve come to expect. We serve at this battlefront of knowledge . . . Okay, stop, I can’t do this with a straight face. All kidding aside, you can find us all around the Library and our community, always prepared to assist. Seriously, it’s what we do! 


Much like the eight-armed octopus who navigates the deep depths of the ocean, we multi-task as we slither here and yon to help you navigate technology; research a new project; find an old song; copy new documents; find your way to a meeting or class or session; guide you to our Commons, exhibits, or the restrooms. We deliver the items that you’ve put on hold; provide Culture Passes for free entry to museums, help with trail maps, hand out donation cards; we recommend books, movies, and restaurants! Most importantly? We provide the answers to your questions . . .and you do ask a lot of questions. 


Within the myriad of questions that you pose, some commonplace, others not so much, we always find value. Your questions receive our undivided attention and I’m happy to share a few of them here. We may laugh about some of the strange questions we’re asked, but c’mon, you ask some pretty interesting and amazing questions! For instance? Keep reading. 


Jana, one of our newest librarians, was asked, “Are there any alien conventions in the area?”  Funny you should ask! They meet every other Tuesday at the top of Thunder Mountain, half-past Beldar. Seriously, though, you can always visit for information about this local group that might know just where the aliens are meeting, or where you can at least discuss the possibilities with like-minded folks. 

She also reported a general line of questions involving planets and their moons. For this we always guide patrons to the Sirius Lookers Astronomy Club that meets monthly on the third Wednesday of every month at 5 p.m. By the way, don’t forget the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, April 8. Do you still have your eclipse glasses from last October? Guess what? They’ll still work! 

When she worked in Colorado, Library Director Judy Poe, remembers being asked “At what elevation do the deer turn into elk?” Research indicates that it’s right about 4,500 feet above sea level. All joking aside, in our Science/Animals/Zoology section, 599.65, you can learn all about Santa’s coworkers. BTW: Reindeer are NOT elk—until they make at least two runs with Santa and his sleigh. Sheesh! 

Daphna, our Social Media Ninja, is often asked about movies filmed in Sedona. We could go on about the Westerns filmed locally, however, did you know that the original Karate Kid was filmed here? It was! When you watch it, look for a familiar hotel and pink-colored jeep when Daniel and his mother are pushing their station wagon. In our catalog, you’ll find a section for movies filmed in our sleepy little town. And keep an eye out for Diane Phelps’ new book “Sedona Movie Locations, Then and Now”—it has all the information you’re looking for, and more!  

Daphna has also been asked for examples of art depicting women in hats. Of course, we can help with that question! Just find “Ladies of the Canyons” by Lesley Poling-Kempes—it’s chock full of photographs of women wearing hats. 

Ally, another librarian, mentioned another common query. “I’m new here. Is there any way I can check out books?” Of course, she always explains, then waits for the typical follow-up question, “How much does a library card cost?” The standard going rate for a library card in Sedona is two goats and lamb. However, we’ll give you a card for FREE for just a smile and proof of residency in Yavapai or Coconino Counties. 

A less common question Ally sometimes gets is, “What’s the Library’s Mbps speed?” (This question refers to our internet’s upload and download speed – Megabits per second). Look, folks, while there are so many acronyms these days: MLS, MBS, UPS, URL, LOL, CIA, and FYI, we believe each of your questions holds a teachable moment. Ally and the patron researched this question, and, IIRC, we’re generally at about 70 Mbps. That’s fast! 

On a more serious note, we appreciate questions that are particularly meaningful or even life changing. A while ago, someone asked if we had information on nearby Alzheimer’s support groups. We didn’t find anything on our community board, but I remembered a Prescott group and provided the information. They were grateful; I earned my star for the day; and all was well in the world.  

Finally, while most of your questions are simple, interesting, or simply interesting, sometimes we get a question that makes us pause, smile, or simply say, “Hmmmm.”  Like this one. 

“How do I find the phone number for the singer Josh Groban?” While Josh hasn’t gotten back to us yet, we librarians are patient, if nothing else. We’re sure he’ll call any day. (His website does have a fan page!)  

The next time you stop in for a program or to pick up your holds, don’t forget to ask us a question. We’ll get you from the “Hmmmm” to the “Ah-Ha!” as fast as I can finish the sugar-free peanut butter cookies you bring me. (Hint-hint.) 

Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your gifts supplement the funding and support we receive from the City of Sedona, Coconino and Yavapai County property taxes, and Friends of the Sedona Library. Please visit to make an online gift.    

As published by Red Rock News

Library News Column for March 15, 2024  
Written by Jan Marc Quisumbing, Scheduling Coordinator


Library News appears each Friday here and in the Red Rock News.