Trivia from Your Library

Fill your brain with random trivia! We feature a new trivia question in each edition of the library email newsletter.

If you just can’t get enough trivia, form a team of family, friends or coworkers and sign up for the library’s popular quarterly Trivia Night and Trivia Afternoon. And, if you want to organize your own trivia night, check out our free How to Trivia at Your Library guide, written by our Trivia Night experts!

Nov. 10

Trivia Q. Which city in America boasts the world’s biggest wren?

Giant wrenTrivia A. Topeka. You’ve probably seen it. The world’s largest wren enjoys a nice view of the capitol building from its perch at the intersection of Huntoon and Topeka Blvd. It was originally perched atop a house at 10th Ave. and Fillmore, previous location of WREN radio station. The bird was the station’s mascot. For more local history, visit the Topeka Room, where the history of Shawnee County is at your fingertips.

Oct. 27

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Trivia Q. Where is the rainiest place on earth?

Trivia A. The place with the most number of rainy days per year is Mount Wai’ale’ale on Kauai, Hawaii – up to 350 days.

Oct. 13, 2015

Trivia Q. What was the most Googled Halloween costume in Kansas this year?

Trivia A. The Minions. Click on the graphic below to see what is the most popular in every state. You might be surprised.  

Sept. 30

Trivia Q. The very first email was sent from one computer to its next-door-neighboring computer in what year? Not sure? Try guessing which decade.

These computers were the first to send an email. One sent and the other received.

Trivia A. 1971. Whoa, that’s early, right? For the rest of the story of the world’s first email, visit the website of email creator, Ray Tomlinson. He can’t remember what the first email message said.

Sept. 14

Trivia Q. The very first Monday Night Football game aired on September 21 and was a face-off between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. What year was it? Bonus points if you know who won.

The first year of Monday Night Football the broadcasters were Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Keith Jackson.

The first year of Monday Night Football the broadcasters were Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Keith Jackson.

Trivia A. September 21, 1970. The Browns won, defeating the Jets and their star quarterback Joe Namath.

Like Sports trivia? Try your hand at winning the library’s Sports Trivia game at Boss Hawg’s BBQ on November 16, right in the heat of the football season.

Sept. 1

Trivia Q. This confection gets its name from an ingredient not actually included in the recipe. Know what it is?

Trivia A. Saltwater taffy. According to a recent article from Slate, saltwater taffy got its name from an unfortunate collision of a taffy vendor and a hurricane. Go to our travel neighborhood to find out where to find taffy at a boardwalk or beachside town near you.

July 28

Trivia Q. According to the video below, when it’s hot in Topeka, what’s the weather like in Spokane?

Trivia A. There are showers in Spokane. Go watch the video. It will make you feel better about how hot (hot! hot!) it is in Topeka today.

July 14

Trivia Q. Do you know which chemical element is represented by the symbol “K”?

Trivia A. Potassium. Do you have enough Potassium in your diet? Find out in our health neighborhood, where nutritious, balanced meals are ripe for the picking.

June 30

Trivia Q. A famous caricature of a white-haired man got his name from a barrel stamped with the initials “U.S.” Who is it?

Trivia A. Uncle Sam. During the War of 1812, a beef supplier named Samuel Wilson stamped barrels of beef for the Army with the letters “U.S.” Soldiers assumed this stood for the beef supplier’s nickname, “Uncle Sam.” Nope, it meant United States, of course. But eventually the two ideas combined until the U.S. government became known as Uncle Sam. Read the whole story at Have a safe and happy Independence Day! The library will be closed Saturday July 4.

June 16, 2015

Trivia Q. The word “Juneteenth” is a combination of two words, June & nineteenth. Other examples of this language phenomenon are “brunch” (breakfast + lunch) and “smog” (smoke + fog). What’s it called when two words are combined?

Trivia A. Portmanteau. A portmanteau is formed when a much-used pairing of two words gets shortened down to a combination. Juneteenth is a portmanteau that refers to the date when the last slaves in the nation were freed in Galveston, Texas, over two years after Lincoln’s official Emancipation Proclamation: June 19th. Find more history about the emancipation in our collection, or speak to a genealogy librarian about your family’s African-American roots.

June 2, 2015

Trivia Q. In what U.S. city was the Bomb Pop invented? Bonus points if you know what decade.

Trivia A. Kansas City! And it was invented in 1955. Did you know the answer? If so, come congratulate yourself with a bomb pop at Funky First Fridays this summer.

May 20, 2015

Trivia Q. Whose name was spelled wrong in the opening credits of 1951 Disney animated film, Alice in Wonderland?

Trivia A. Alice author, Lewis Carroll. The film’s opening credits mistakenly spelled his last name “Carrol.” Love all things Alice? Then you’re going to love our new bookmobile, which will be unveiled 9 a.m. Wednesday June 3. Stop by until 2 p.m. to see the newest addition to the library’s fleet.

May 5, 2015

Trivia Q. Who was the inventor of the very first record player?

Trivia A. Thomas Edison. Edison built the phonograph in 1877. Edison’s records were made of tin foil. Read more about early inventors by checking out a few enlightened reads.

April 21, 2015

Trivia Q. Captain America was frozen during which war?

Trivia A. World War II. According to, Steve Rogers (“Captain America”), was a soldier in the WWII when he became frozen in ice and awoke several years later to continue his pursuit of liberty.

April 7, 2015

Trivia Q. What is Taylor Swift’s favorite movie?

Trivia A. According to, it’s “Love Actually.” Be like TSwift and #checkitout today.

March 24, 2015

Trivia Q. Which Midwestern state harvests so much wheat in a year that it could bake 36 billion loaves of bread? That’s enough to feed the entire population of planet earth for 2 weeks.

Trivia A. Kansas, “bread basket of America.” While you’re surrounded by so much wheat, you may as well make bread with it. Check out our collection of books about baking a scrumptious from-scratch loaf.

March 10, 2015

Trivia Q. What allegedly happens when you kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in Ireland?

Trivia A. You are bestowed with the “gift of gab.” Or, in other words, you become a flatterer, coaxer and great teller of jokes. If you want to become a blarney natural, best read up on Irish folklore, especially before heading out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Tues. March 17.

Feb. 24, 2015

Trivia Q. Which character cries the most in the Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass books?

Trivia A. Alice. But who would blame her? You’re going to be seeing a lot more of Alice around the library this Spring. Stay tuned for some magical news.

Feb. 11, 2015

Trivia Q. What children’s author wrote the Johnny Cash song, A Boy Named Sue?

Trivia A. Shel Silverstein, beloved poet and author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and many other children’s favorites.

Jan. 27, 2015

Trivia Q. The Kansas Flag hasn’t changed since its adoption in 1927, with one exception. During the state’s centennial, what was added to the flag?

Trivia A. The name, Kansas. Read up on some more Kansas trivia.

Jan. 13, 2015

Trivia Q. In 1964, 27 senators voted against a pivotal civil rights bill. It ultimately passed 73-27. What’s the name of the bill?

Trivia A. The Civil Rights Act. Read the New York Times article that came out the day of the Act to learn more. Who voted against the Act? Most of the opposing senators were southerners.

If you’ve got Martin Luther King Jr Day off of work or school, you’d better stock up on Civil Rights reads so you can spend the day properly learning about a fight millions felt was worth the oftentimes grueling struggle. The library will be closed in observance of MLK Day.

Dec. 30, 2014

Trivia Q. One of the authors listed in our newsletter goes by the pen name Robert Galbraith. Do you know this author’s real name?

Trivia A. JK. Rowling is the author using the Galbraith pen name. Rowling, of course, is the world-renowned author of the Harry Potter series.

Dec. 2, 2014

Trivia Q. A Topeka writer and newspaper columnist once said, “There are no sharps or flats on a typewriter, but it still can turn out some sour notes.” Who was this beloved female author?

Trivia A. Zula Bennington Greene, or most commonly known as Peggy of the Flint Hills, was a columnist for the Topeka Capital-Journal. Her memoirs were recently published posthumously by her daughter.

Nov. 18, 2014

Trivia Q. What do these Crayola colors have in common: Blue Gray, Lemon Yellow, Maize, Orange Red, Raw Umber, Violet Blue and Green Blue?

Trivia A. They were all retired in 1990. Check out the newest kid favorite book about crayons, The Day the Crayons Quit, and remember to respect the crayons.

Nov. 6, 2014

Trivia Q. What was the original name given to the day we now commemorate as Veterans Day?

Trivia A. Armistice Day. Armistice Day got its start on Nov. 11, 1919 as a way to recognize the armistice of World War I, marking the first anniversary of the great war’s ending. It was made a national holiday in 1938, and President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954. Search our catalog for stories of Americans throughout history.

Oct. 21, 2014

Trivia Q. According to Alexander Pushkin’s fantasy poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila,” what character from Russian folklore lives in a “cabin on chicken legs … with no windows and no doors”?

Trivia A. Baba Yaga. Find out more about this sinister witch of Russian folklore.

Oct. 7, 2014

Trivia Q. What famous author published cryptic tweets today insinuating the return of a famous wizard?

Trivia A. JK Rowling, the author of the wildly popular series of Harry Potter Books posted tweets on Twitter today that raised some eyebrows and raised the question of whether the author would return to the tale of the Boy Who Lived.

Sept. 23, 2014

Trivia Q. Johnny Appleseed is known in American folklore as a man of great kindness who planted apple trees all across the United States.  However, he was a real person who was born in 1774.  What was his real name?

Trivia A. John Chapman. Browse our catalog for some great stories about the legendary apple enthusiast.

Sept. 9, 2014

Trivia Q. Willy Lowman is a famous character in a play focused on a particular vocation. Do you know the play?

Trivia A. Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)

Aug. 26, 2014

Trivia Q. What food festival do the folks in Liberal, Kansas and Olney, England celebrate every year with a competitive race?

Trivia A. International Pancake Day! It’s the one day every year where it’s okay to run down the street with a flapjack and not get any funny looks. Want a great pancake recipe so you can get flipping this weekend? Try checking out the Big Book of Breakfast.

Aug. 12, 2014

Trivia Q. Which 1986 movie character hacked into his school’s computer to change the number of absences on record?

Trivia A. It was the rascally Ferris Bueller, of course, from the popular 80’s comedy film. If you’ve never seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, go over and place a hold on the DVD. It’s an 80’s classic, and the perfect DVD for back-to-school.

July 21, 2014

Trivia Q. How often does the average person visit the supermarket, and how much does on average do they spend?

Trivia A. According to the Food Marketing Institute 2010 research, the average American visits the supermarket 2.2 times a week and spends $26 on average. However, now you have the chance to save a little more of your money when you go to Topeka’s Hy-Vee. There you can use the new Library smartlocker to pick up requested titles at no cost.

June 24, 2014

stjosephfacadeTrivia Q. What’s the name of the Topeka church with twin towers that dots the downtown skyline?

Trivia A. St. Joseph’s Catholic, 227 Van Buren, a center for the German community in early-day Topeka, was completed about 1900. Uncover this and other long-forgotten secrets of the Golden City when you stop into the Topeka Room (second floor).

June 10, 2014

Trivia Q. Stratus, cirrus and nimbus are types of what?

Trivia A. Look up. The answer is in the sky. It’s those clouds floating by :)
So now that you know that one, conquer some more weather trivia – and rack your brain on other various topics – by playing the Online Summer Reading Bonus Level. It’s free, but registration is required. You get to earn cool, virtual badges like these ones and compete members of the community.


May 27, 2014

Trivia Q. David Shannon, the guy who illustrated How I Became a Pirate, also illustrated a popular series by Jon Scieszka. What is the name of the series?

Trivia A.  Trucktown. The 50-book series ranges from picture books to the more advanced “Ready to Roll” early reader titles, and the library’s got a shelf full of ’em. If your child’s favorite Trucktown titles are all checked out, browse the many other transportation-related books in the Kids Library.

Transportation books

Find the Trucktown series, along with other transportation books, on the shelf of the school bus.

May 9, 2014

Trivia Q. Holy trivia, Batman! This one’s not about the caped crusader, however. We want to know if you know… Who played Catwoman in the film Batman Returns?

Trivia A.  Michelle Pfeiffer. Meow. Of course you can check out the beloved Batman movies to enjoy at home, but why not share in the Batman lovefest May 17 as we celebrate Batman’s 75th birthday – or at least the birth of the 1966 film Batman: The Movie. Come for Batman games, crafts and displays, which starts at 2pm. The film starts at 4pm.

April 28, 2014

Trivia Q. What mid-’70s/early ’80s band popularized the catchphrase “Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto”?. (Good luck getting that song out of your head.)

Trivia A.  Styx. Want some music that takes you back? Listen to our comps of classic rock, many of which include Styx songs. Check out Styx Greatest Hits and The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies and My Life with Styx, a book by bassist and founding member Chuck Panozzo.

April 10, 2014

Trivia Q. This popular mystery writer won a Grammy in 2001 for Best Album Notes on Richard Pryor’s album …And It’s Deep Too, and three years later, snagged a PEN Lifetime Achievement Award.

Trivia A.  Walter Mosley, who brought us the great, hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins. Check out the Easy Rawlins mystery series. His mystery Little Green will be the inaugural book for the One Book, Many Voices book club April 17 at 7pm. Come share your thoughts. Learn more about the author, the book and Rawlins’ character in this video book discussion.

March 26, 2014

Trivia Q. This actor grew up in Overland Park, Kan., and starred in Horrible Bosses and We’re the Millers, following a stint on Saturday Night Live.

Trivia A.  Jason Sudeikis. If you guessed Paul Rudd good guess, but wrong, though he did grow up in Overland Park and went to the same high school(Shawnee Mission West) as Sudeikis. Check out episodes of Saturday Night Live, including the best of Will Ferrell, Chris Farley and Eddie Murphy, on

March 14, 2014

Trivia Q. St. Patrick’s Day is March 17. A  phrase you’ll likely hear during that day is: “Erin Go Bragh.” What does that phrase mean?

Trivia A.  Erin Go Bragh translates to “Ireland Forever.” You can learn how to speak a foreign language, Irish or otherwise, with Mango, an online language learning software. 

Feb. 26, 2014

Trivia Q. The 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott was spurred by the refusal of this woman to give up her seat on a segregated city bus.

Trivia A.  Rosa Parks, born Rosa Louise McCauley. She was a seamstress at a Montgomery department store. She and her husband subsequently lost their jobs as a result of championing this civil rights fight. Learn more about Parks by checking out these titles: Rosa Parks: My Story, Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of the Woman Who Changed a Nation, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks and Rosa Parks: A Photo-illustrated Biography

Feb. 14, 2014

Trivia Q. How long does it take for the light from the Sun to reach the Earth?

Trivia A.  About 8 minutes. Have fun with other scientific facts at Sid the Science Kid at 2pm this Saturday at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. TPAC and the Library, along with the Sid and his friends, will teach your child science is cool! Tickets are still available. Find details here!

Jan. 28, 2014

Trivia Q. After Kansas was admitted to the Union, how many stars were on the United States flag.

Trivia A. 34 stars. Kansas was the 34th state admitted to the Union. Learn more about Kansas history and read famous Kansas authors in the Topeka Room (second floor).

Jan. 14, 2014

Trivia Q. True or false? Laws prohibiting interracial marriage are ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963.

Trivia A. False – The landmark ruling that ended race-based restrictions on marriage in the U.S. would be delivered four years later in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. Learn about Mr. and Mrs. Loving and talk to a panel who share similar experiences when you attend the Created Equal film series Feb. 2 at 3:30pm. The documentary film, The Loving Story, will be shown; discussion follows.