April Foolswatch 2017 Has Been Canceled

Alternative promises to be indistinguishable from the original

April 4, 2017

Image from Hillsboro (Oreg.) Public Library's video of its take-home tattoo gun for April Fools' Day.
Image from Hillsboro (Oreg.) Public Library's video of its take-home tattoo gun for April Fools' Day.

Sadly, due to a winter blast that closed many libraries in New England, and the general confusion surrounding separating fiction from reality that’s gripping our nation, American Libraries is unable to provide our annual roundup of April Fools’ pranks from Libraryland this year. Fortunately, we’ve got an alternative. We’ve switched this year’s batch of library pranks with Folger’s Crystals. See if you can tell the difference:

Books by authors named Crystal held by the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Okay, okay, on to the real library pranks.

Go for the gold

The National Library of Scotland has launched a campaign to make speed-reading an Olympic sport, with a video profile of Declan, an aspiring long-distance nonfiction competitor, and other top contenders. The sport’s not without its controversies, mostly involving the Polymer Handbook, but it’s still got a great chance to join sport climbing and skateboarding on the 2020 program.

Scotland's Olympic speed-reading hopefuls

Today we launch our campaign to get speed-reading officially recognised as an Olympic sport.In this promotional film we catch up with some of Scotland’s top speed-reading competitors at their training facility at the National Library of Scotland. They reveal the secrets behind this popular and intense workout for the mind and the body.

Posted by National Library of Scotland on Saturday, April 1, 2017

LibrarInk Masters

Using just the tools in its makerspace, Hillsboro (Oreg.) Public Library created a self-tattooing kit for patrons to check out, giving them an opportunity to “try something new and learn a valuable skill.” Unfortunately, some of the staff have chosen to use the tattoo gun for evil, branding themselves as Death Eaters or, worse, Team Jacob.

No escape

Sterling Municipal Library in Baytown, Texas, offered several bits of whimsy on its Facebook page, including one with a decidedly astronomical bent: This month only, the library’s interactive Think Tank is offering a (potentially) one-way trip through a black hole.

Silence in the library

Apparently fed up with collaboration and sound in general, and finding that quiet areas didn’t go far enough, the Rodney A. Briggs Library at the University of Minnesota Morris established an extra quiet zone on its fourth floor. Patrons are expected to think quietly.

Don’t take the elevator

The Wisconsin State Law Library turned its April newsletter over to some law-related hoaxes, including a new judicial robe dress code, a new text on human modeling law, and an announcement of the library’s rare book room hosting an L.A. Law reunion show.

Classics return

We’ve spotted a few pranks that have been done in previous years, including drone deliveries, Airbnb rentals, and pet-lending, but props to Bryn Mawr College Library and Information Technology Services for bringing back a personal information security prank retro enough to feel fresh again.


Library and Archives Canada announced the acquisition of the declassified journals and military records of soldier James “Logan” Howlett, who bears a striking resemblance to Hugh Jackman.

April Foolswatch 2016

A roundup of the best library jokes and pranks from this year

Sacramento Public Library announced that the Library of Things had evolved into a new Library of Cats, with apparently a lengthy borrowing period: "Patrons can now borrow a kitten and return a cat."

April Foolswatch 2015

Our favorite library-related pranks this year