Harry, Hogwarts, and Hippogriffs…oh, my!

I only read Harry Potter because I was “supposed” to. As a library science student, I took the required Children’s Literature course in which I was asked to read several books from a selected list of prize-winning chapter books and evaluate them. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was on the list; I’d had put off reading it for nearly a decade but I knew it was an incredibly successful series that I should probably be familiar with if I was going to be a librarian. So, I reluctantly requested a copy from the library and more reluctantly picked it up just a few days later when I received notification that my hold had come in.

I took the book home, sat it on my crowded kitchen table, and promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, just a day before my assignment was due, that I dug through the stack of bills, grocery store mailers, and old assignments to find it. I had forgotten how big it was; much larger than most of the other books I’d been reading for the class. The plan was to skim chapters, read some reviews online, and get the pesky report done so I could move on to my “real” homework.

I started reading the first chapter at lunchtime and somehow, after what felt like only moments, Harry’s first term was over and he was boarding the Hogwarts Express to head back to the Dursleys’ in Little Whinging.  As I read those final words, I realized I was also leaving a magical place and headed back to stark reality. I was hooked. Luckily, there were another six books to read and apparate me back to Hogwarts.

My love of all things Harry Potter has continued well into my adulthood, and I have already introduced my six month-old daughter, Cate, to the first film. While she seemed most attracted to Professor McGonagall in her animagus cat form, I am certain Cate will grow to love the wizarding world as much as I do. 

Why am I reminiscing about HP? Well, the library will be hosting an exciting Harry Potter themed event on Saturday, October 7 from 7 to 10 p.m. “Hogwarts After Dark” will be an after-hours event for 21+ and will give long-time Harry Potter fans a sneak peek of the famous wizarding school. Sample a few Hogwarts classes, show off your skills in the “spell-ing” bee or cut loose by playing quidditch pong and hunting horcruxes. There will also be muggle food and adult beverages. Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased at www.AfterDarkEC.org.

This is the fourth installment of the After Dark event series, which introduces young professionals and parents to cultural and educational organizations in the Chippewa Valley. Previous events have been hosted by our After Dark partners: the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Museum, and Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum.

The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Jamf, Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley, Clear Water Comedy, Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, Eau Claire County Humane Association, and TG Makeup & Hair.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, aged 21 and up, I hope to see you there, and I’d love to learn more about how you came to love the series!

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