Magic was in the air on Harry Potter Book Night at both the Hudson Library in Highlands and the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library on Thursday. Children clad in cloaks bearing their house insignias, brandishing wands, and testing their alchemy skills creating potions celebrated the popular Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling.
In Highlands, apprentice wizards listened to the passage from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when the book’s pre-teen student of the magical arts receives his first wand. In addition to the literary aspect of Harry Potter Book Night, there was also an art component as The Bascom’s Director of Education and Outreach, Billy Love, was on hand guiding would-be wizards to craft their own Monster Books (trust me, it’s a thing). The Bascom’s partnership with the Hudson is part of the library’s Kids Zone program and Hudson Librarian Carlyn Morenus said partnering with other community groups adds to the overall experience.
“Other groups bring such wonderful knowledge, strengths, and creative ideas,” said Morenus. “We have so many great organizations in Highlands, we are really lucky.”
Love said collaborations like the partnership between the Hudson and The Bascom support both groups’ missions.
“It allows us to provide a supplemental art component to whatever activity the kids are doing,” said Love. “It’s a cross-disciplinary approach and gives them a hands-on component in addition the book.”
The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust also works with the Hudson as part of their Kids in Nature program that teaches participants about different environmental topics and themes. HCLT’s AmeriCorps Member, Grace McCants, said some of these themes include wormology, rocks and minerals, insects and other bugs, animal habitats and adaptations, and more.
“This is an immersive and experiential program, which focuses on students experiencing the nature around them—leading to a new understanding, appreciation, and love for the environment,” said McCants. “All lessons include a story-book introduction to the topic, an activity or craft, and sometimes even live critters.”
McCants added that she hopes the growing KIN program gets children excited about nature and lights a spark that will last a lifetime.
“Partnering with Hudson Library has been a great way to reach more students,” she said. “As well as gives us an opportunity to link our lessons on natural sciences to literary classics for a deeper impact on students and host our KIN programs in a great learning environment.”
The Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library held their own Harry Potter Book Night loaded with ghoulish treats, a potions table, a scavenger hunt, and young apprentices firing off spells with reckless abandon. Cashiers Community Library Youth Services Coordinator, James Stewart-Payne, said the celebration of the young-adult fiction Harry Potter literary series is something children know and connect with.
“We want to create an atmosphere that fosters a new generation with a love of learning and reading,” said Stewart-Payne. “Tonight, we’re using the Harry Potter books.”
The Cashiers Library ran the mystical book night on their own, but many programs the Library offers are in partnership with groups like the Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau, Cashiers/Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, Highlands Biological Station, and the Cashiers/Highlands Humane Society, to name a few.
“These are great partnerships that bring so much to the programs,” she said. “We’re introducing our youngest to reading in so many fun and interesting ways.”
Both libraries offer a variety of programs often involving a science, technology, engineering, art, or math (STEAM) theme. Stewart-Payne said there are members who are currently coding computers to program robots as an example of one of their STEAM-themed programs.
Morenus and Stewart-Payne both said having programs that are enriched through collaboration with other community groups gives kids more time at the library, making them feel more comfortable in that environment.
“This becomes their space,” said Stewart-Payne. “They know they can always come here to learn and have fun.”
To learn more about the Hudson Library’s programs click HERE.
To learn more about the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library’s programs click HERE.
Pictured at the top of the article are young wizards brandishing their wands after celebrating Harry potter Book Night at the Hudson Library in Highlands.
Pictured below, would-be wizards were sorted into houses using the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter book series. Editor’s Note: I always thought I was a Slytherin kind of guy, but the Sorting Hat knows.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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