Trivia From Your Library Archive: 2013

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.