Harry Potter recently turned 20-years-old! More specifically, the release date of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was 20 years ago on Sept. 1, 1998.
The original book was released in Great Britain as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” about a year earlier on June 26, 1997. Whichever side of the pond you are reading on, it has been more than 20 years since this first title of the popular series hit the bookshelves, and there has been more than 400 million copies sold to date. The series continues to fare well and was recently voted the third most beloved book or book series in America for the PBS event “The Great American Read.”
Locally, Carnegie Public Library has been bursting at the seams with all things Harry Potter. The lobby has been transformed into Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross station, complete with all the luggage carried by a young wizard. The Children’s Department has been decked out with flying candles and letters, Dementors and owls. Myckki’s Costumes for All Occasions lent costumes and props for the event, including a customized luggage dresser. Also on display is a Lego model of Hogwarts, donated by W&W Dry Cleaners, which took more than 40 hours to complete.
Harry Potter activities included escape rooms for adults and for teens, where participants were locked in a room full of wizardry artifacts, and escaped using clues they found and their knowledge of the book series. Carnegie Public Library Teen Specialist Laura Weade initially designed this escape room for the summer reading program, where it was met with much success. For the 20th anniversary, Laura wrote a new script and doubled the decorations, transporting participants into another world.
Younger children celebrated Harry Potter by mixing and making unique concoctions in the Hogwarts Potion Class.
While the Potter decorations and activities are winding down, the library will continue to lend Potter books and movies both to fans and interested patrons new to the series.