May 27, 2010; Source: Improve Everywhere | It’s no Bill Murray, but it’ll do. Improv Everywhere, the popular comedic performance art group, was recently invited by the New York Public Library (NYPL) to stage a haunting of the same famous reading room where the 1984 blockbuster, Ghostbusters, opens. The ensuing chaos and hilarity are captured in the video below.

Due to the music dubbed over the video, we miss the brilliant exchange between the ghost and the guard around twenty seconds in. Fortunately, Improv Everywhere transcribed it:

Guard: Sir, what are you doing?
Rodgers: Um . . . haunting the library.

Amid all the laughs, however is a very serious situation. The NYPL faces a $37 million City budget cut, the harshest in its history, and Improv Everywhere’s video asks viewers to visit the Don’t Close the Book campaign website and take action to support the library.

This wasn’t the first time Improve Everywhere had performed on NYPL grounds, but it was their first approved appearance. In 2002, the group staged a satirical protest, posing as artists whose grievance was the free distribution of their art. Writers Against Piracy, as they were called, “would do for books what Metallica did for music.”—James David Morgan