Jeanes Memorial librarians (from left) Melissa Kalinen, Sara Huff and Hillary Hunter prepare for the library’s Harry Potter event. (Photo by Lizzie Strickland)

Jeanes Memorial librarians (from left) Melissa Kalinen, Sara Huff and Hillary Hunter prepare for the library’s Harry Potter event. (Photo by Lizzie Strickland)

by Lizzie Stricklin

Although it has been nine years since the last Harry Potter novel hit bookstores, fans of the acclaimed series have been able to keep the magic alive across generations as they enjoy the exciting tales of Harry and his fellow wizards. Now with the opening of a new play telling the story of Harry Potter’s adult years, the magical series finds a new chapter and a new reason to celebrate its imaginative world.

In celebration of the opening and release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the William Jeanes Memorial Library and Nicholas and Athena Karabots Center for Learning, in Lafayette Hill, will be hosting Harry Potter Day on Saturday, July 23, from 10 to 1:30 p.m. at the library. This free event is fun for people of all ages, and the whole family is invited.

“We definitely think that there is a large Harry Potter interest in the area,” said teens’ librarian Sara Huff, head of the committee that is running this event. “The great thing about Harry Potter is that it reaches all ages, from kids to senior citizens, so the whole family can enjoy an event like this.”

From 10-12, the library will be transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with library staff and volunteers in costume. Various “classrooms” will be set up to host crafts and activities such as quill-making, a Herbology scavenger hunt, and “Pin the Sock on Dobby.”

The entertainment will move to the community room in the afternoon, in which wizards and witches can participate in a costume contest, trivia, and raffle – all for prizes. Among other Harry Potter-themed prizes, the library will be raffling off a copy of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

Currently in previews at the Palace Theater in London, the play will open on July 30. Written by playwright Jack Thorne and based on J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the script will be released for purchase on July 31. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” takes place 19 years after the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” and focuses on the relationship between adult Harry and his son Albus.

Although this is the first new Harry Potter material in many years, the hit series is in no desperate need of a boost in popularity. Year after year, more people experience the Harry Potter world through the books, movies and other attractions, keeping the characters and stories alive and present.

“I think that the story of Harry Potter is absolutely timeless, which is why it has been popular for so long,” said Huff. “It really hasn’t aged at all … People who read it when it first came out still reread and re-watch the movies, and there are people (especially kids) who are reading it now for the first time and falling in love with the story.”

The library’s event will follow in the style of last year’s Star Wars Day, in which the library was filled with intergalactic activities, even featuring Garrison Carida, a group of costumed stormtroopers who appeared at the library to entertain the Star Wars fans. After the success of this event, the library presents Harry Potter Day as a new celebration for the whole family to enjoy.

“Harry Potter is accessible to the whole family because no matter what age you are, you will identify with a character in the book,” said Huff. “Kids can relate to Harry as he is a kid, teens can relate to him when he’s a bit older, and adults can relate to the adult figures in the books as well. Now, adults will definitely be able to identify with him, Hermione, and Ron because in the new play they are in their 30s.”

In addition to the copy being raffled off at the event, the library will also be purchasing two copies of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” for circulation in the library. All of the day’s activities will be free.

This event will remind fans of the magic of the original series and also get them excited for the new Harry Potter story being released later this month. For Harry Potter fans of all ages – wizards and muggles alike – the William Jeanes Memorial Library’s Harry Potter Day will have something for everyone to enjoy.

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