Harry Potter Book Night – Some Serious Creative Magic

Fingal Libraries
by Fingal Libraries on February 22, 2017.

Aileen Gallagher writes about the evening that Howth Library was transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry  to celebrate Harry Potter Book Night, on Tuesday 2nd February! This annual event is organised by Bloomsbury Publishers (the original publishers of the Harry Potter books back in 1998 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first magically materialised). […]

Aileen Gallagher writes about the evening that Howth Library was transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry  to celebrate Harry Potter Book Night, on Tuesday 2nd February!

This annual event is organised by Bloomsbury Publishers (the original publishers of the Harry Potter books back in 1998 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first magically materialised). The idea behind Harry Potter Book Night is to celebrate the famous books and their characters as they are depicted in the original books, rather than as they are represented in the later, and hugely successful, movie franchise. Bloomsbury Publishers provide an online activity and information pack which can be downloaded and used to create an event

http://www.harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/au/harry-potter-book-night/

I’m always happy to wear a costume (Halloween and Comic Con are my two favourite times of the year) and so I was very happy to be assigned to work in Howth Library for Harry Potter Book Night. The preparations for the event made going to work very interesting – one day there’d be polystyrene Dragon Eggs to help paint, the next day there’d be a Monster Book of Monsters that Cliodhna had fashioned from a worn-out hardback book, some furry fabric from a cushion and some stick-on googly eyes.

By the time the day itself had arrived, the Junior Area of Howth Library had been transformed, featuring everything from a crystal ball (a paperweight), to ‘levitating candles’ (wrapped in clear plastic with paper flames) as well as a papier mache Sorting Hat and Hogwarts School textbooks (printed artwork covers stuck on to worn-out hardbacks) all arranged against some highly realistic stone-effect wallpaper.

The theme of this year’s Harry Potter Book Night was the Hogwarts Professors and the four teachers depicted in the display from the Junior Area of Howth Library are the four Heads of the Hogwarts Houses –

-      Professor McGonagle (Transfiguration teacher and Head of Gryffindor House, top left)

-      Professor Snape (Potions teacher and Head of Slytherin House, top right)

-      Professor Sprout (Herbology teacher and Head of Hufflepuff House, bottom left)

-      Professor Flitwick (Charms teacher and Head of Ravenclaw House, bottom right)

Of course, on the day itself we all decided that it would help us get into character if we wore our costumes all day (rather than the hour and a half in the afternoon when the event was actually on…) Needless to say, we got some amused looks and jokes from the library borrowers but they seemed to enjoy the spectacle of using a library staffed by a Hermione Granger in school robes (me), a Ginny Weasley in Gryffindor Quidditch robes (Cliodhna) and a Draco Malfoy in Slytherin Quidditch robes (Ciara).

The first part of the activities with the children who attended the event was to Sort them into their respective Hogwarts Houses. This was done using a multiple choice quiz (in the absence of a real Sorting Hat) and their answers determined the House they were Sorted into -  they seemed to enjoy thinking what personality traits applied to them.

Then came the quizzes and the activities – they had to make up a Potion (there were a number of revolting and imaginative ingredients listed) and draw a prediction of the future in a crystal ball (and there were some very interesting predictions too).

Every child that took part received a copy of The Quibbler and a quill pen and then there were prizes for Best Dressed, Best Potion Recipe, Best Divination Prediction and the Winner of the Quiz – everyone went away happy (as seen in the photos).

Howth Library also received a lovely email of thanks the following day from the mother of one of the participants who awarded the staff 50 points each, which we were all delighted with so it was definitely “Mischief Managed”!

By Aileen Gallagher, Fingal Libraries