Not a black and white issue

On election day, 2008, we held our own election at the reference desk for a library mascot. It was our way to a) harness election day energy for ourselves, b) have something fun for kids to participate in (and it turned out, fun for the adults) and c) to deflect any political discussion that patrons might have wanted to engage in. (As much as I had to say that day, I could not and did not want to engage in discussion at work).

Panda won by one vote.

The display in the lobby has prompted occasional discussion about pandas at the reference desk during the last month.
  • Pandas are part of the Ursidae (bear) family, not the Procyonidae (raccoon) family. This is the subject of much debate, but DNA and molecular makeup put Giant Pandas closer to bears. However, scientists have not yet agreed on which family the red panda belongs to.

  • Pandas are not marsupials, and koalas are not technically bears.

  • Explanations for the unique black and white markings offered over the years include camouflage and extreme sorrow, and the reason why pandas in the wild and the zoo don't appear black and white is that they are not natural self-groomers, and they get dirty!

  • Bamboo (the main staple in a panda's diet) flooring isn't necessarily the most 'green' option available.

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