It would be remiss of me as a librarian to fail to mention the current resurgence of ‘Pottermania.’ Just as a refresher, the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series entitled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in July of 2007 – nearly 10 years ago.
The excitement that accompanied each of Rowling’s books barely dwindled over that period – what with new generations joining in the fandom and “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, Orlando, and Japan. Last week saw the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a script written for the stage collaboratively with J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. The live performance of the script can be viewed at the Palace Theatre located in the West End of London. Currently, the stage production has been met with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
According to the rumor mill, producers of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may be negotiating for a Broadway debut next season at the Shubert Theatre. This comes as no surprise, given the international success surrounding the new release. According to The Wall Street Journal , the print version of the new play script sold more than four million copies in its first week in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. In addition, “the script book has also boosted sales of the original seven “Harry Potter” novels.” But that’s not all: WSJ also mentions “a spinoff film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” with a screenplay written by Rowling, is set to debut in November. It is the first in a planned series of three “Fantastic Beasts” films.” The film script is based on a Hogwarts textbook, interestingly enough. Finally, the British Museum promises a special Harry Potter exhibit next year in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the first book.
Keep in mind all of these announcements have occurred only within the first two weeks of the debut of Cursed Child.
Yes, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child holds strong at #1 on all three aforementioned countries’ Amazon site. But how does all this concern libraries? According to School Library Journal , public libraries all over the U.S. have used the substantial Potter buzz to hook patrons. By hosting Cursed Child release events, libraries have managed to appeal to fans across generations – from college students to mini Potter fanatics. Ranging from Quidditch matches to book discussions to Sorting Hat financial literacy games, librarians have managed to incorporate the widespread enthusiasm for all things Potter into community engagement.
With the string of upcoming Potter-related releases and undoubtedly more to come, it seems that public libraries will have programming ideas flowing forth for the next few years. Perhaps J.K. Rowling has gifted us with an infallible means for keeping libraries relevant and instilling a love of literature in generations to come.