Trivia from Your Library

Fill your brain with random trivia! We feature a new trivia question in each edition of the library newsletter, which is sent to subscriber’s inboxes every other Tuesday. Sign up here.

This is your place to go in case you get stumped.

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.

Dec. 31, 2013

Trivia Q. While today it’s made of Waterford crystals, the ball used for the first New Year’s Eve ball drop in Time Square was made of iron, wood and 100 incandescent light bulbs. When was the very first ball drop?

Trivia A. The ball dropped for the first time in Time Square in 1907. As technology has evolved, so has the ball. It originally was a 700-pound iron and wood ball illuminated by 100 25-watt light bulbs. It’s now a designer ball that weighs 11,875 pounds and features 2,668 Waterford crystals. It’s been lowered annually since its debut, with the exception of 1942 and 1943 due to wartime restrictions.

Dec. 17, 2013

lib. exterior 1960Trivia Q. In what year did the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library open at its new location at 1515 SW 10th Ave?

Trivia A. Ground was broken for the library at its 1515 SW 10th Ave address in 1952 and opened to the public Dec. 13, 1953. All regular services in the new building began Dec. 14, 1953. A 23-million dollar bond issue is passed in 1996 to expand and renovate the library. In 1998, ground is broken for the 100,000-square-foot addition. On January 12, 2002 the library opened its new doors to the public. Learn more library history here or stop in our Topeka Room (second floor) to ask our local history experts.

Dec. 3, 2013

Trivia Q. In Trading Places, the popular ’80s movie starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, what is the monetary amount of the bet?

tradingplacesTrivia A. One dollar. The Duke Brothers, owners of a brokerage firm, bet one dollar that they couldn’t take a perfectly productive, law-abiding professional and turn him into a criminal while at the same time turning a street hustler into respective professional. As you may know, it’s not the only one dollar-bet in the movie. Whether you are just discovering or reliving this story of redemption, Trading Places is a wonderfully funny holiday movie, albeit one for a more mature audience.

Most of our holiday-themed movies check out for three weeks. Pick ‘em up this week and don’t worry about returning them until after Christmas.

Nov. 19, 2013

Trivia Q. How long has Topeka been holding its community Thanksgiving dinner?

Trivia A. According to an article in the Topeka Capital-Journal on Nov. 28, 2002, this free Thanksgiving feast was first held in 1965. The Topeka tornado of ’66 put these community dinners temporarily on hold. In 1968, the dinner picked back up by East Topeka Methodist Church and has been held ever since. It’s currently at the Kansas Expocentre from noon to 3pm on Thanksgiving Day. Find out what else happened in the ’60 in Topeka when you visit the Topeka Room (second floor).

Nov. 5, 2013

Trivia Q. Which song, which has been ruler of the radio lately, has propelled the singer, a 16-year-old New Zealander, into fame?

Trivia A. Royals by Lorde. While fans who adore her might just have to buy the track, remember you can download and keep many other popular hits from contemporary artists for free. All you need is your library card. Freegal, a service of the library, allows you to download 3 free music tracks per week. Learn more about our music service here. See what’s hot in the nation and among Topeka’s music fans and start downloading.

Oct. 22, 2013

Trivia Q. In 1999, Topeka Civic Theatre moved into their current facility in a former school. What was the name of that school?

Trivia A. Gage Elementary School. Check out Town Hall Tonight: A Pictorial History of Topeka’s Theaters for further exploration of art and culture from our city’s past. Then, make a trip to the Topeka Room (second floor) to dig deeper into local culture.

Oct. 8, 2013

Trivia Q. What family left a legacy in Topeka with its renown psychiatric clinic, which operated here from 1919 to 2003?

Trivia A. The Menningers. C.F., Karl and Will Menninger founded the Menninger Sanitarium, later known as the Menninger Clinic, which became the place for speciality mental health care for locals. It also attracted patients from all over the world who could afford to travel to Topeka. Many innovative research and psychiatric practices came out of Menninger Clinic, including art therapy. You can ask the experts more about this famous family and pick up techniques for researching your own family at the Ancestor Fair Oct. 19 at the Kansas Historical Society, 6425 SW 6th St. Stop in between 9:30 and 3pm. And learn more here.

Sept. 25, 2013

Trivia Q. The first Doctor Who program aired on BBC television on November 23, 1963. In what year did Doctor Who first air in the United States?

Trivia A. 1972, although it wasn’t until PBS began regularly airing the program in 1978 that Doctor Who gained widespread popularity in the United States. Show your love for the Doctor by making a movie! We’ll be editing together a crowd-sourced video to debut at the library Nov. 15 at 6pm. Submit your video entry through Oct. 27. Consult filmmaker’s instructions here and learn more about the Doctor Who party on Nov. 15.

Sept. 10, 2013

Trivia Q. How well do you know your community? The city’s founders chose to name the city after the anglicized Indian word “Topeka,” which loosely translated means what?

Trivia A.  In late 1854, the founders agreed to name the town Topeka. They considered such names as Webster, Mid-Continent or Papan’s Ferry before selecting an anglicized Indian word for “Topeka.” Naturalist Thomas Say in 1819-1820 recorded an Otoe word for the river of Kansa: to-pe-o-ka, which meant good potato river,” according to Quick Reference to Kansas: Lost – Found – Missing Towns and Places by Melvin D. Bruntzel. In more recent history, Topeka has been loosely translated Topeka to “great place to grow potatoes.” A trip to the Topeka Room (second floor) will satisfy many a curiosity about Topeka trivia. Dig into reference books, maps, city directories, newspaper clippings and digital resources in the Topeka Room. Ask our staff about upcoming local history and genealogy programs, including the Ancestor Fair. Mark Oct. 19 on your calendars for talks from Lisa Arnold of, Jan Wilkes of and Beth Foulk of


Aug. 27, 2013

Trivia Q. Which of the following Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks also won the Heisman? a.) Tom Brady  b.) Brett Favre  c.) Jim Plunkett  d.) John Elway

Trivia A.  C.) Jim Plunkett won the Heisman while he was at Stanford University and led the Oakland Raiders to two Super Bowl championships. The library is showing some of the Kansas City Chiefs’ day games on our new big screen. Come watch the Cowboys vs. the Chiefs Sept. 15 at noon and the Raiders vs. the Chiefs Oct. 13 at noon.

Aug. 6, 2013

Trivia Q. What real person is Christopher Robin, from the Winnie the Pooh books, named after?

Trivia A. Christopher Robin is named after author A. A. Milne’s own son, Christopher Robin Milne. Reconnect with Winnie the Pooh stories from your youth and introduce your children to this beloved character.

July 24, 2013

Trivia Q. What famous Austro-American actress/mathematician helped create the wireless radio technology which serves as the basis for mobile phones, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi?

Trivia A. Hedy Lamarr. You can look forward to racking your brain for answers to questions like this and others at our quarterly trivia competition. Get your team together. Space is still available for Trivia @ your library Saturday, July 27 at 3pm in Marvin Auditorium. Register by calling 580-4540.

July 9, 2013

Trivia Q. Where was the first place in Topeka where the public could view fine art?

topekafreelibrary_smallTrivia A. According to the Topeka Public Library: Its First Hundred Years (Shawnee County Historical Society Bulletin, 1970), one of the conditions of the first building (on the statehouse grounds) was that it include art. The building was dedicated April 20, 1883, and the first exhibition of local artists was also in 1883. I am told that we were the first public art location in Topeka. Edward and Mary Wilder spearheaded the effort to create replicas of the masters, and at the beginning of the 1900s brought fine art from Europe back to Topeka and the Topeka Free Library, as it was then called. Answers to questions about the library’s earliest days can be found in the Topeka Room (second floor).

June 25, 2013

Trivia Q. Of these musicians, which one does not have a child who’s in the music industry? Richard Thompson, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Ravi Shankar, Dolly Parton, or Billy Ray Cyrus.

Trivia A. Dolly Parton. She raised many of her younger siblings, but never had children of her own. As for the others who do have musical offspring… Richard Thompson’s son is Teddy Thompson, Jon Lennon’s is Sean Lennon, Ravi Shankar is Norah Jones, Billy Ray Cyrus is Miley Cyrus. Find their music in our CD collection or download it via Freegal, a which offers you thousands upon thousands of tunes from the Sony Music collection.

June 11, 2013

142307083 (1)Trivia Q. The following were presidential pets: Checkers, Heidi, Macaroni, Rex and Misty Malarky Ying Yang. Can you name the Presidents who owned them?

Trivia A. Checkers belonged to Richard Nixon. Heidi belonged to Dwight Eisenhower. Macaroni belonged to John F. Kennedy. Rex belonged to Ronald Reagan. Misty Malarky Ying Yang belonged to Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy. Many of these pets traveled with their presidential owners. Where do you take your pet besides the vet? This summer we’re soliciting pictures of your pet on vacation for our pet travel photo bulletin board and an online photo blog. Come on, show us just how cute your pet is. Submit your pet photo here.

May 28, 2013

Trivia Q. What was the name of the Double A minor league baseball team that Michael Jordan played for during the 1994 season?

Trivia A. Birmingham Barons. Check out the 2010 documentary Jordan Rides the Bus about Jordan’s baseball career.

May 14, 2013

Trivia Q. What brand of golf ball is found in the whales blow hole when George pretends to be a marine biologist?  A.) Titleist  B.) MacGregor  C.) Wilson  D.) Pinnacle

Trivia A. A.) Titleist. Check out Seinfeld Seasons 1–9 from the library’s catalog!

April 30, 2013

Trivia Q. Cedar Crest is the official residence of the Kansas Governor. Who was the original owner of Cedar Crest?

Trivia Answer. Topeka State Journal publisher Frank P. MacLennan
Check out Kansas First Families at Home: Residences, Residents and Recipes by Karen Carlin, executive editor, Robert W. Richmond, editor. Or the current governor’s book From Power to Purpose: A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion by Sam Brownback

April 16, 2013

goldfinch_largerTrivia Q. It’s a trivia question worthy of tweeting about! Can you identify this bird (pictured) that’s common to Kansas?

Trivia Answer. American Goldfinch
Both kids and grownups can have fun with birds when you check out our wide range of bird books. Start with the DVD Bill Nye the Science Guy: Birds and then move onto books like A Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots and The Crossley ID Guide Eastern Birds. We’ve got an ongoing partnership with the Topeka Audubon Society so look for nature programs in Library News.

April 3, 2013

Trivia Q. During baseball’s opening day, the Rangers’ Yu Darvish pitched a perfect game before the Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez hit a single in the ninth inning. How many perfect games have been recorded in MLB history?

Trivia Answer. 23
Get your library card ready, baseball fans. You can find stories about the perfect game and the pitchers who can claim this rare feat at the library. Start with Perfect: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made it Happen and Perfect: The Inside Story of Baseball’s 20 Perfect Games and then move onto our sports magazines for recent stories about perfect games and pitchers. For those wanting to learn the sport, we’ve got you covered too with both instructional DVDs and books.

March 19, 2013

Trivia Q. Your library just hit a milestone anniversary for one of our most beloved services. Our Bookmobile traveled the streets of Topeka for the first time on March 15 of what year?

Trivia Answer. March 15, 1943. Happy 70th Anniversary Bookmobile!
The first bookmobile was called the Traveling Branch. Bookmobiles now stop at 16 locations around the county. Find a stop nearest you on our Bookmobile page.


March 5, 2013

Trivia Q. In the Seinfeld episode The Library, what was the name of the library investigations officer who went after Jerry for not returning a copy of Tropic of Cancer?

Trivia Answer. Mr. Bookman.
Check out the TV series (episodes 1-9) on DVD and books about the show’s philosophy, including Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing – plus Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy CDs.

Feb. 19, 2013

Trivia Q. In the novel Tender Is the Night we meet Dick Diver and Nicole Warren. Readers often interpret these two characters as alter egos for which real-life married authors?

Trivia Answer. F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, who were both authors. Fitzgerald penned Tender is the Night, but is best known for his novel The Great Gatsby, which the entire community is reading as part of The Big Read (Feb. 1–March 2). Learn all about The Big Read here.

Feb. 2, 2013

Trivia Q. After many years of silent films, the first full-length talking motion picture was released in the U.S. in 1927. What was its title?

Trivia Answer. The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, May McAvoy and Warner Oland. Jakie Rabinowitz runs away from home to become a talented jazz singer, but will the demands of a Jewish family and heritage be too much to resist? Check it out from the library. And celebrate the Roaring Twenties (and the Jazz Age) as we unite in reading The Great Gatsby as part of The Big Read 2013, a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to restore reading to the center of American culture. Roaring Twenties events going on now through March 2, when Queen Bey, a legendary jazz singer from Kansas City, performs.

Jan. 22, 2013

Trivia Q. What is the title of the novel that made F. Scott Fitzgerald famous and helped make the flapper movement a national fad? (Hint: It was his debut novel.)?

Trivia Answer. This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald gained overnight fame when his debut novel came out – and almost as quickly a wife. Hear about Fitzgerald’s life Feb. 17 at 1pm during a presentation by Kirk Curnutt, author, scholar and expert on the Fitzgeralds. All month of February, the community will unite in reading as part of The Big Read 2013, a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to restore reading to the center of American culture. Readers will be reading and discussing another popular Fitzgerald book, The Great Gatsby, during The Big Read (Feb. 1–March 2).

Jan. 8, 2013

Trivia Q. Who is the object of Jay Gatsby’s obsessive love in the classic novel The Great Gatsby?

Trivia Answer. The beautiful Daisy Buchanan, wife of Tom Buchanan. Grab and go with your copy of this classic work by F. Scott Fitzgerald when you stop at the book display the library’s atrium. All month of February, the community will unite in reading and talking about the story as part of The Big Read 2013, a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to restore reading to the center of American culture. Or reserve your copy of Gatsby online to pick up later.

Dec. 25, 2012

Trivia Q. On what year was Christmas declared a national holiday in the U.S.? a.) 1790 b.) 1818 c.) 1854  d.) 1870  e.) 1902

Trivia Answer. d.) June 26, 1870. In the U.S., it was not consistently celebrated across ethnic, religious and geographic divides for much of our history. Puritans condemned the holiday. Louisiana was the first state to declare Christmas a state holiday in 1837. 33 years later U.S. Congress followed suit. Discover where certain Christmas traditions came from and dig up local Christmas facts with a visit to the Topeka Room (second floor).

Dec. 11, 2012

Trivia Q. What social site is the fastest growing in the history of the internet?

Trivia A. Pinterest. Did you know your library is on Pinterest? Access our boards. Browse through staff picks, get new DIY ideas and drool over pictures of food. We even have a library lounge board for you to hang out in.

Nov. 27, 2012

Trivia Q. Who plays Woodie Guthrie in the 1976 film adaptation of his autobiography Bound for Glory?

Trivia A. David Carradine. Check out Bound for Glory on DVD from the library. You can also check out the book Bound for Glory if you prefer reading to watching.

Nov. 13, 2012

Trivia Q. At McKinley High School, what is the preferred item for the popular students to throw at the unpopular students (or rather, what do the athletes throw at the Glee Club members)?

Trivia A. Slushies. Check out Glee on DVD from the library. You can also get many of the series’ music CDs here too.

Oct. 30, 2012

Trivia Q. In the children’s picture book Pinkalicious, what color of foods must the little girl eat to undo her pink color change?

Trivia A. Green. Check out Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann at the library. This is a popular book with young girls. We own several copies of titles in the Pinkalicious series.

Oct. 16, 2012

Trivia Q. Which Greek heroine refused to marry any man who could not beat her in a footrace, those who lost being killed?

Trivia A. Atalanta. Check out stories of Greek mythology at the library. Start with Greek Myths by Diane Namm

Oct. 2, 2012

Trivia Q. What major league baseball hall of famer grew up in Commerce, Oklahoma and played briefly for the Kansas City Blues in the minor leagues?

Trivia A. Mickey Mantle of the Yankees. Check out The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Leavy

Sept. 18, 2012

Trivia Q. What Oscar-winning Best Picture film BEGINS with the title character’s death in a motorcycle crash?

Trivia A. Lawrence of Arabia. Check out the movie, plus read Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia  by Michael Korda

Sept. 4, 2012

Trivia Q. On a popular CBS show,  a lead character frequently wears colored comic-book themed T-shirts, with the color of the shirt worn in the scene being a clue to his mood. What is the name of this character?

Trivia A. Sheldon. Check out Big Bang Theory Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 from the library!


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. Check for upcoming trivia events in Library News, our bimonthly newspaper.

And if you want to organize your own trivia night, check out our free guide, written by our Trivia Night experts!


A public relations professional, editor and writer, Lisa shares the library story in her blog posts, in the bimonthly Library News, and media interviews. A self-described social media and news nut, Lisa harnesses that passion to raise awareness and understanding of the library's vital role in this community.