Library to celebrate Harry Potter’s 15th anniversary

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 13, 2013

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ROSEVILLE — “The Boy Who Lived” will be getting a whole day dedicated to him at the Roseville Public Library Nov. 22.

The library is hosting a daylong Harry Potter Party to celebrate the release of the first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” 15 years ago. It will be the library’s first all-day event, according to Assistant Library Director Annamarie Lindstrom, who organized the party.

“Fifteen years ago, when Harry Potter was first published, it just made reading for pleasure acceptable again for young children, and it’s just — it became one of the most in-demand (books) among younger readers,” Lindstrom said. “Even though it became increasingly longer and more complex, it didn’t stop kids from reading it.”

Scholastic, the book’s publisher in the U.S., just reissued the series in paperback with a new artist, she said, to try and encourage a new generation of readers to check it out — as well as to appeal to people who read the books as they came out.

Noting that the release of each book and movie had become an event in itself, Lindstrom decided that the library could re-create that environment with an anniversary party. Furthermore, Lindstrom said that since Harry Potter appeals to all ages, she wanted to have an event for all ages.

She said the idea to do a party germinated when she saw that Scholastic was holding a contest where the winner would get about $100 and copies of the new paperback releases to give away. While she did not win the contest, it made her think to combine her love of party planning with the anniversary of the first book’s release.

“My director thought it was something we should proceed with and do on our own, even without winning the contest,” Lindstrom said. “My goal was to have something going on throughout the day, so I made a list of activities that I thought would be fun, and that I thought would be practical to implement.”

Planning started in August, she said, giving her the leeway to book performers and get other events organized with staff members and volunteers.

“We are going to show the (first) movie. We are going to have a costume contest and a pretty challenging scavenger hunt. We have very simple activities, and those are some of the ones that may appeal to older children as well as adults,” Lindstrom said. “Then we have … a magic-wand-making craft, guess how many Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans are in a candy jar — so we have activities for the youngest members of our library, as well as the more mature members.”

Other activities include a “potions class” about chemistry, Ming the Magnificent’s magic show and staff members serving ice cream and letting people get sorted into the four “Harry Potter” houses using the books’ Sorting Hat and stickers, she said. Lindstrom added everyone would be dressed appropriately, including the library’s staff members.

“I have had such an enthusiastic reaction from our staff, “ Lindstrom said. “Initially, our director kind of assigned a couple of people characters, and once other staff members found out, everyone volunteered. So everyone that works that day is going to dress in character or as a witch or wizard, and a lot of our staff who aren’t even scheduled are coming in and volunteering.”

Lindstrom said for the costume contest — open to all ages — the winning prize will be the complete set of all seven books in the newly released paperback set. The winner of the scavenger hunt will get a complete set of all eight “Harry Potter” movies on DVD.

Amy Weed, 16, a fan of the Harry Potter series, said she was extremely excited about the party and threw ideas out for it when she heard about it. Some ideas, like the costume contest, made their way to the final event, though others, such as having players of the fictitious wizarding sport “quidditch” come teach people how to play, did not make the cut.

“I am so excited. If I could, I would skip school, even though that’s not the smartest thing,” Weed said. “I’ve never gone to a Harry Potter convention, unless you count the release of the seventh book, which I couldn’t stay that late for anyway. But I would love to go there and do whatever they have planned.”

She said the book appealed to her and her brother from a young age, when they would have their father read a chapter from each successive book every night, looping back around once they reached the end of the released titles. Weed said she is unable to choose a favorite character, finding something appealing in each of them, and added the idea of a magical world that a person could go to continues to appeal to her.

“I like going into the other world and thinking that there is another place that you can go to and learn magic, and not have to be a normal muggle and go to school and learn math,” Weed said. “Learning to turn someone into a toad sounds more interesting than the Pythagorean theorem.”

While the library is typically only open until 5:30 p.m. on Fridays, Lindstrom said it would be open late for the party. The last event is scheduled for 7 p.m., and once that has concluded, she said the building would close for the day.

Lindstrom said copies of the books would be available for people to check out, and there will be “read-alike” bookmarks listing additional books that fans of “Harry Potter” might enjoy.

The party begins at 9 a.m. at the library, which is attached to Roseville City Hall. Lindstrom advised attendees to park in the south parking lot, as the other exit door would be locked after 5:30 p.m., the normal library closing time.

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