Shorewood-Troy Public Library wrapped up its summer reading program July 28 by hosting its third annual Harry Potter Extravaganza.
The event coincided with the 20th anniversary marking the launch of the popular fantasy book series.
“Last year, we averaged about 300 people in the building for Harry Potter Day, so we’re hoping to get about the same if not more for this year,” said Shalyn Rodriguez, Shorewood-Troy Public Library’s head of the children services department. “It’s a Harry Potter community. They love it, and I know that staff really enjoys doing it, too.”
Children and families enjoyed various programs throughout the building. There, they dropped in for charm’s class, defense against the dark arts, potions and a trivia challenge on the history of magic.
Lincoln Malley, 10, of Shorewood, came dressed as one of Harry Potter’s enemies, Draco Malfoy, to explore the magical world created at the library with his siblings. He carried a snake-shaped wand and wore a long, black robe with a t-shirt beneath that read, “Mischief Managed.”
“I like all the books, all the movies and dressing up for it,” Malley said. “I love celebrating it.”
Malley was sorted into Slytherin. He said he thinks he is a good fit for the house because sometimes he can be rather sneaky.
“It depends on the situation,” Malley said, laughing.
Jake Piotrowski, 7, of Shorewood, was roaming the library’s magical world of Harry Potter with his mom and sister, Sara and Brooke.
“We just finished the books,” Jake said. “I really liked the books.”
Sara said the library does a good job of bringing the magical world of Harry Potter to Shorewood.
“I can’t believe all the amazing stuff they’ve done with the Whomping Willow, the Hogwarts Express upstairs, all the portraits when we came down the stairs,” she said. “That was really, really cool.”
Sara said she has grown to love Harry Potter.
“[I’m a really big fan] now that we’ve read all of the books,” she said. “It took us a little over a year. [Jake] and I read them. We became very big fans.”
Rodriguez said she and others on staff view the Harry Potter series as such a hot read to lend out to library patrons.
“Since the series is so timeless, even young kids that are growing up now—even though Harry Potter came out 20 years ago—they still come in and check [the books] out,” Rodriguez said. “They’re constantly off the shelf. They’re still reading them. They’re reading them at home with their families. So, it’s not going to be something that’s just going to die off after a year.”
Rodriguez wants the library to keep incorporating new aspects of Harry Potter every year to make the event bigger and better.
“We get people from Minooka, Joliet, Plainfield,” she said. “They come from all over.”
The way Harry Potter Extravaganza draws patrons to the library is formidable, Rodriguez said.
“Since it’s our third year, a lot of people know and expect to come to this,” she said. “[The event spreads] by word of mouth, too.”
Sara said she thinks Harry Potter’s popularity is undeniable.
“I think the stories are just captivating,” she said. “The characters are relatable. You root for Harry the whole time. Jake and I are having a hard time finding something new to read because we miss [the magic.]”
“It’s a timeless classic,” she said. “It’s just something that people of all ages can relate to. It’s the magic, and just being together and experiencing all the different activities is what draws people, I think. It’s just a great series.”