To the delight of fans, the Chestermere Public Library was transformed, almost like magic, into Hogwarts, the witchcraft and wizardry school, from the Harry Potter series Feb. 2.
“I would call it a roaring success,” said Chestermere Public Library Assistant Director Cathy Burness.
The transformation was part of the international Harry Potter Book Night hosted by libraries and bookstores the world over.
“We think it went really well,” said Burness, “we had about 120 people here who were extremely excited.”
Many people, including library staff, came dressed as their favourite characters for the evening.
“There were several Harry Potters,” said Burness.
The library staff and volunteers embraced their roles and the theme of the evening completely, dressing as Hogwarts’ professors and posing for photos with the excited kids.
“Staff really went above and beyond embracing their characters,” she said, “we also had people who just worked their tails off while we were doing all that stuff.”
Burness described the staff as still buzzing the day after the event.
“We were all very excited,” she said.
Along with getting to meet their favourite professors, kids had the opportunity to do several activities, the most popular of which seemed to be the scavenger hunt.
All night kids were running about the library with their robes trailing behind them as they searched for the clues.
“I like all the activities and how they have everything themed to Hogwarts,” said eleven-year-old Rayelle Hermann.
She liked the scavenger hunt the best and had the hardest time finding the diary.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” she said.
There was also a draw for a collectable Harry Potter wand, a Harry Potter Toque and collectable Hogwarts letters for everyone who came in costume.
Hermann though the collectable Hogwarts letter was “really cool.”
Wearing black robes and a black witch’s hat, Hermann didn’t dress as a specific character from the books, but drew her inspiration for her costume from the series.
“I thought of the Hogwarts robes because that’s what a Hogwarts’ student would wear,” she said.
Burness attributes the popularity of Harry Potter to how well written the books are and their relatability to children.
“He clearly is an underdog and it’s really nice to see the underdog win,” she said.
Hermann agrees about the quality of the books.
“The books are just really good,” she said, “I just find it a really good book,” she said “I like magic and fantasy.”
Her favourite book is book three, the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Hermann told some spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the book when explaining why she liked it.
“I like they find out that Harry has a godfather who’s Sirius Black and he didn’t actually commit the murder,” she said.
Like his daughter, Raymond Hermann is a fan of the series.
“I read them…probably 10, 15 years ago, more or less when they first came out,” he said.
His favourite was the first one, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
“A whimsical kid with a wild life coming to head,” he said, “as a kid, wouldn’t that be…just incredible to do all that,” he said.
He thought that the library did a great job capturing the feel of the books with the Harry Potter Night and hopes that it will encourage kids in the community to keep reading.