In my library system, we are lucky to have had the ability to redo a number of our libraries. Sometimes these beautiful buildings make me really think about how children would experience them and see the magic beyond what we see. This thinking led me to dream of an impossible dream, host an after-hours event at the library for ages 6-12 to transform the library into Hogwarts, and have special programming for our Harry Potter enthusiasts.
And so began a journey towards this dream came true.
The first step in this process was to round up a team of coworkers who would be willing to give tons of time and energy to this dream.
Then write a long proposal denoting exactly how this could all happen, and hope that your manager sees the forest for the trees.
After all the approvals go through, we began the process of figuring out how to lead the the children and their parents through the library in a three hour process, how to keep them engaged, how to encourage people that this event is for our friends over 6, writing a budget for our Friends, and what we should wear. I am truly fortunate that my coworkers went all in on this event and seemed to truly love being extra and preparing for a magical night to remember.
We posted the event on Eventbrite to control the numbers and have some regulations above mentioned. We capped the event at 102 children– asking those that have children under 9 to make sure that they have an adult. Then we devised the group into Year One, Year Two, and Year Three based on when everyone arrived. We met together to plan who would do what.
I had hatched this plan based on doing a Charms class to turn the lights on and off with their wands and a cleverly placed plant working the light switch. We knew from past events that we wanted to do a Potions class with dry ice, make owls to wear on their wrists, wand making, a Horcrux hunt, and do a photo booth.
Since we had more room and time, we added some big events like a Quidditch obstacle course, a care of magical creatures trivia class with Gilroy Lockhart, and a big feast!
The result? About four months of work went to one magical night with 78 kids and their parents who were as enthused as we were. People dressed up in costume and argued over what house and year they wanted to be, and the library was full of wands and excitement! So many times we work so hard on things, and the community is just meh about them, but at this event– people were so appreciative and understanding of how much work and care was put to this event, and very happy to have it in their community.
Speaking of, we had wonderful feedback from the community, including a mom who wrote to us about how her 9-year-old autistic son especially enjoyed the event and said it was the best night of his life! And, for once, I could say the same about a late night of work.
We have already begun to plan for another event next year.