Friday Time Waster

Which population is larger...

the number of librarians worldwide -

- or -

the population of North Dakota?

The population of North Dakota or the population of Austin TX?

The population of Baltimore MD or the number of librarians worldwide?
Read on to find out...

A) There are more librarians worldwide-690 million of them!-than live in the entire state of North Dakota, and in many notable cities as well (Baltimore and Austin, TX to name but two).

Info from the Bolton (MA) Public Library via Town Online.


Do they mean 6.9 million? Maybe? Or .69? According to wikipedia (I know I know, I'm home, sue me) ND population is 642,000.

I blame the newspaper.

I think Greg's right on this one. Given something like 150,000 librarians in the U.S., it is simply not plausible that there are 690 million librarians in the world, unless you define "librarian" as "anyone who has ever checked out a book."

690,000 sounds pretty plausible, actually. Hey, that's only three orders of magnitude.

Census has ND at 636,677 as of 7/1/05, while the Labor Department says "Librarians held about 159,000 jobs [in the US] in 2004."So Walt Crawford's idea of "million" being "thousand" sounds about right.

Credit where credit is due: Greg had the idea first, although I asserted that the lowest of the four possible numbers is almost certainly the right one.

Thanks all for your analysis of the faulty figures provided by the Bolton Public Library. I hope someone clued them in on their enormous error.

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