After we closed for a couple weeks, I found an event on our calendar titled “April Fool’s Ideas,” and there was a short list of goofy pranks we could put on for the public. Rather than file these away for 2021 and most likely lose them, here’s a quick rundown on the silliness I had tentatively planned for a few weeks ago.
First was a pretty simple one, a self-checkout station. In libraries, this is traditionally done to allow patrons to check out their materials without having to interact with a staff member. With its own computer facing out, in some cases these can allow for a quicker checkout experience, you know, exactly like how it works at a grocery store. That is NOT what we were going to do. In this case, we were going to put up a mirror with a sign that read “Self Checkout.” And if you liked that, you’re going to LOVE these next two.
On social media, we were planning a post that announced that since ebook publishing companies kept raising our prices and limiting access, we were going to re-institute late fees to help compensate for this unexpected increase to our expenditures. Of course that’s a joke. Everyone knows our amazing e-resources are late-fee free, just like any physical item you may check out from our library. Preposterous!
Last, I was going to change the length of each slide in our digital display to two seconds instead of the reasonable ten second delay between slides, and had a note to make the slides say weird things or just look wrong or terrible. You know, like we could use an all black screen with a tiny font on the middle that just says “April Fool’s!” or something. You get the idea.
The point is, without the library being open, we couldn’t really do any of these pranks – well, except for the social media post about imposing late fees on ebook checkouts – but with everything we were going through on April 1st, it seemed like it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and get patrons to use our e-resources and then make a confusing statement about late fees. In the end, these pranks did provide me at least something to talk about for 350 words, and may have kept your attention for a minute or two, so that’s something, right?
I hope everyone is trying to find some positivity in the confusing and constantly-evolving nature of our world. Keep supporting local businesses and enjoying time with your loved ones. We can’t wait to return to as close to normal as possible soon.