The Snohomish and Granite Falls libraries have been celebrating all things Harry Potter for the past few years with increasingly popular events.
Librarian Shannon Horrocks in Snohomish brought Potter fever with her from a previous library job. Horrocks and Snohomish Assistant Library Manager Nate Cushman organized the first Camp Hogwarts at the Snohomish Library in November 2016.
Granite Falls Library Manager Michelle Callihan saw Snohomish at Platform 9-3/4 and hopped aboard the Hogwarts Express with Horrocks and Cushman. Their collaboration resulted in Hogwarts Summer School for Granite Falls and moved Camp Hogwarts to July 2017.
Ever since, Granite Falls and Snohomish have shared staff to stage their increasingly popular Potter parties. Snohomish always holds Camp Hogwarts on July 31 to coincide with Harry Potter’s birthday. Granite Falls holds Hogwarts Summer School on the Saturday closest to July 31, which this year will be Aug. 3
Just how popular are these two programs? Callihan says Hogwarts Summer School easily attracts 300 or more Potterheads, “but it felt like 400 last year. We definitely had more than 300 people.”
In 2018, Camp Hogwarts registration filled up in less than 24 hours. Horrocks said she removed all the event advertising at the library because she didn’t want to promote an event for a month when no one else could attend.
“It’s great to do registration, except when you can’t meet the needs and have to turn away a majority of people,” Horrocks said.
This year, Horrocks and Cushman decided it was time for Snohomish to make one really big change to Camp Hogwarts that will change everything else about the experience.
They cast a spell, and with it, advance registration has disappeared.
In past years, Snohomish used registration to limit Camp Hogwarts attendance to 30-60 people. Horrocks and Cushman knew how many materials to order and what to expect.
While Hogwarts Summer School does have an official registration cap of 300, Granite Falls has never actually limited attendance, Callihan said.
“This is something kids look forward to all year,” Callihan said. “The program takes over the library all day, but our regular patrons love to see the excitement. It’s great when an entire community gets on board with something like Hogwarts Summer School.”
Horrocks and Cushman have debated the pros and cons of Camp Hogwarts registration since their first collaboration with Granite Falls. Cushman cited benefit of open attendance: “You get a certain level of energy you don’t get with (limited) registration,” he said.
And then he notes a drawback: “How many wands do I need?”
Hogwarts Summer School already draws Potterheads from beyond the confines of Granite Falls.
“I know we get people from as far as Lynnwood,” Callihan said.
Cushman, Horrocks and Callihan have always shared program ideas and collaborated on how to put on their Potter parties. Now, Snohomish will emulate what’s worked in Granite Falls. Instead of structured events limited by time, Camp Hogwarts will have 13 activity stations open to all from 2-4 p.m.
“It will be different this year,” Horrocks promised.
Some Potter events will overlap at the two libraries, including the sorting hat and wand ceremonies, Quidditch tournaments, and herbology and potions classes. Both will end with hourlong magic shows.
“We couldn’t do this without the Granite Falls staff,” Horrocks said. “We’re really excited. It’s such a good example of collaboration and cooperation.”
Hogwarts Summer School is “great because parents are involved as much as the kids,” Callihan said. “That’s so important, to show the love of reading. Kids want to read the books after the program.”
Cushman loves to see how many generations have embraced Harry Potter books since “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was first published in the U.S. in 1998.
“We’re seeing the fourth and fifth generations of ‘Harry Potter’ readers,” Cushman said. “Kids want the books. They don’t ask about the movies.”
And Horrocks loves to see how Harry Potter unites young children with teenagers, who are often reluctant to do any other library programs.
“We get teens into the program, too,” Horrocks said. “Teens like to watch over the younger kids.”
Check out more Harry Potter-related resources and events at Sno-Isle Libraries and in the wizarding world.
(All events are open 2-4 p.m.)
- Sorting Hat
- Wand Ceremony
- Spells & Duels
- Personalize Your Wand and Owl Post Station
- Wizards Unite Gaming Hub
- Bertie Bott Jellybean Contest at Honeyduke’s
- Refresh with a Butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks
- Quidditch Tournament
- Herbology Class
- Potions Class
- Hogwarts: A History Trivia Contest
- Fantastic Beasts Scavenger Hunt
- Find a Great Book Based on Your House
- 4-5 p.m.: Reading is Magic with Magician Rick Anderson
- 11 a.m.-noon: Sorting Hat Ceremony & Wand-Making
- 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Herbology Class; Divination Class
- Noon-1 p.m.: Flying Keys; Patronus Practice
- Noon-2 p.m.: Potions Class (space is limited); Quidditch Tournament; Dry Ice Crystal Ball Demonstration
- 1-2 p.m.: Broomstick Lollipops; Trelawney Tea Blending
- 2-3 p.m.: Magician of the Cosmos, Daffy Dave