It was the Warwick Public Library, or was it?
The parking lot was full, and the library was packed. Just inside the doors, visitors were greeted by “King’s Cross Station” and a host of backgrounds and accessories to use in photos.
In the “Great Hall” to the right in the hall leading up from the lobby, guests could make an assortment of fun crafts, such as the Mandrake Plant, Pygmy Puff Pet, a custom Quill Pen craft with a Harry Potter themed quiz to test your knowledge, and a Treasure Tote Bag to carry everything in.
Ruth, age 3, loved this part so much, that she “played with all her souvenirs from the event all afternoon (after the event was over).” She said that her favorite part of the whole event was "making a pet." One of the most popular activities was The Imaginorium’s Wizard Duel on the ground floor, where participants were instructed on how to perform during a mock duel, ie. when someone waves their wand and says “Expelliarmus” and you get hit, you drop your wand, or if you want to block, cross your arms in an X shape, and say “Protego.”
Since this activity was mostly active, it was very well liked by the younger kids. Another popular activity was the URI Quidditch Team demonstration, also on the ground floor, in which members of the Rhody Ridgebacks showed visitors how to play the sport Quidditch, and even go a round or two with three Chasers, comprised of willing participants trying to get the ball through one of two hoops, versus one Rhody Ridgeback Keeper trying to block them. This, again, is an action-oriented activity, and thus, was well liked by the kids.
In the Children’s Room on the upper floor, the librarians set up a snack table and kids area for completing crafts. The final activity of note was the Scavenger Hunt, sending young Harry Potter fans throughout the library, and even outside, for items featured in the Harry Potter series, and collect a prize from the Prize Corner upon completion. Ben, age 8, said "My favorite part was the scavenger hunt. When I saw Dobby (a house elf) in the window (in the lobby) I chuckled to myself." He also loved seeing his friends and doing all the activities together with them.
His brother Sam, age 11, also said his favorite thing was the scavenger hunt. Another popular element of the Hogwarts Open House was that all the library staff were in costume as characters from the popular series. From Rubeus Hagrid and Harry Potter, to Luna Lovegood and Professors Sprout and Trelawney, the library staff certainly went all-out to be as realistic as possible. Some of the guests even made their own costumes! When asked what she considered the best part about the Hogwarts Open House, Ashley, of West Warwick, dressed as a student of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, (a rival magical school to Hogwarts) answered that it was “the fact that it’s helping to keep Harry Potter alive”, n our hearts.
Children’s Services Coordinator Ellen O’Brien said it would be “bigger and better than ever”, and the library did not disappoint. Everything was decked out in true Harry Potter fashion, and all true to the spirit of J.K. Rowling’s spectacular bestseller series.
The wizardry was the work of the library staff, Friends of the Library and volunteers.