Libraries are regular participants in the annual April Fool’s Day ritual of mirth and frivolity. Here are some of our favorite biblio-buffoonery from this year:
A Truly Cool House: King County (Wash.) Library System—already known for its architecture—announced that its next facility would be “an homage to the card catalog,” although it is unclear if the drawers were functional and, if so, whether the users would access the top row by climbing ladders or if they would need to rappel from the building’s upper story.
Tech Support?: Technology is important to the library, but it’s also fallible—particularly when subjected to a bit of classic April Fool’s sabotage, as students at Tompkins High School Library in Katy, Texas, discovered.
All the News That’s Fit to Spoof: Chadron (Nebr.) State College’s Library Learning Commons dedicated an entire newsletter to mock news, as librarians are, in fact, “closet satirists who would be glad to see April 1 come around more than once a year.” Stories included a call for book lovers to cuddle books that need some human contact, a warning that computers had achieved sentience and were independently accessing electronic resources (and boosting their usage stats!), and the announcement of a collection of native fowl to be housed in a new prairie wetlands environment—on the library’s top floor.
Double Duty: Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library pulled a double prank, first announcing on its Facebook page that it would begin adopting the Cadwalader Color System—an “equally alliterative, yet more appealing, method of classification as compared with Dewey Decimal”—in select branches. Soon after, it announced that the Library of Things had evolved into a new Library of Cats, with apparently a lengthy borrowing period, as “patrons can now borrow a kitten and return a cat.”
Fashion Statement: Thorntown (Ind.) Public Library chose to turn its Foolish attention inward, as the entire staff dressed up like Ritchie, the librarian’s custodian. According to the blog of Tober, the Thorntown Library Cat, Ritchie was “absolutely astounded and honored by all of the extra attention.”
At Least There’s Caffeine: The University of California at Berkeley announced that,“following the successful digitization of millions of print holdings,” its Doe Library would close at the end of the semester and reopen as a coffee bar and study center—complete with artisinal coffee blends, exotic fair-trade teas, and baristas that presumably hold ALA-accredited MLS degrees.
What About Antibacterial Soap?: Marcia Dressel, teacher-librarian at the School District of Osceola (Wis.) Elementary and Intermediate Schools, proved the importance of cleanliness, posting signs announcing that the library would be closed for the day for page-dusting.
Let’s Hope They’re Housebroken: Austin (Tex.) Community College Libraries offered pony rides for one day only.
Free Money: The Library Lost and Found blog reported that the “Central District Public Library” would add an innovative new lending service: cash loans to patrons with a valid library card. While no interest is charged on these loans, they are “subject to overdue fines at the same rate as DVDs.”
British Humour: Finally, in England, the Greater Manchester Police–Newton Heath dedicated its Twitter feed to the #ForceOpOLS tag for the day, where it documented and shared photos of arrests made for “persistent book lenders who don’t bring them back on time.” One offender “only had one overdue book, but it was a really thick one. So that counts twice.”