Have you ever found yourself in a situation with a question for which you aren’t quite sure how to find the answer? Like when it’s Sunday night, the libraries are closed, and your third-grader has a report on endangered species of Colorado due tomorrow. Or, maybe you want to plant a garden in your backyard, but you’re not sure where to start. Or you have a burning desire to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Believe it or not, the solution to all three quandaries is to AskColorado.
AskColorado is an online chat service where Garfield County residents can ask a professional librarian any question, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Think of it like a human powered search engine; smarter than Google and faster than going down to the library. All of the librarians staffing AskColorado have a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, so they’re professional researchers trained in getting the best information from the Internet.
AskColorado is a statewide cooperative of participating public libraries. It is supported by grant money from the Colorado State Library and from Garfield County Libraries. Librarians from across the state share in staffing the service, including three of our local librarians.
You can access AskColorado from the research section of our website at www.gcpld.org/research. Just look for the chat box on the right, type in your question, and click “Ask Now!” Beginning later in 2014 AskColorado will be available via text messaging. Keep that in mind next time you need to settle a bet from your favorite brew pub.
So how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? According to Purdue University, 364 for a licking machine designed by engineering students and 252 for human volunteers unassisted by machinery. A student-designed licking machine at the University of Michigan puts the number at 411. The official word from Tootsie is, “It depends on a variety of factors such as the size of your mouth, the amount of saliva, etc. Basically, the world may never know.” For answers to the other questions at the beginning of the article, you’ll have to AskColorado.