[Nameplate] Fair ~ 75°F  
High: 88°F ~ Low: 73°F
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Harry Potter casts spell over readers in the Bootheel

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Martha Standridge, technical services supervisor at the Sikeston Public Library, places a label onto one of three new "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" books.
SIKESTON -- The seventh and final Harry Potter book came out from under lock and key at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, to numerous excited fans who wanted to learn Harry's fate.

That enthusiasm is something local librarians said is quite unique.

"I have not seen this type of craze before -- it's very exciting," said Ann Thompson, children's librarian at the Sikeston Public Library. She pondered whether the Chronicles of Narnia books, released in the '50s, had the same impact.

Martha Hunter, branch head librarian at New Madrid Memorial Library, said she's never seen this type of impact and demand surrounding books in her 22 years at the library. "It's unreal how excited everybody is about Harry Potter," she said.

That shows by the length of the wait list for the new book, which began all the way back in January, Hunter said. "It is a whole page long now," she noted, adding that patrons can't renew the book while it is on the waiting list.

The list at Sikeston's library began in the spring, and is quite long as well, Thompson said.

Other volumes are popular too, which is why the library has three copies of each. "And I'm constantly restocking them," she said.

Hunter said the readers are quite diverse, noting she has readers under 10 all the way up to their 70s. "Once they read one of the books, that's it. They just keep coming back and coming back."

A lot of times parents will read the books to their younger children, the librarians agreed.

Thompson, who began working in 1998 when the first Harry Potter book was released, said she felt honored to be a part of the craze.

"I feel like I've watched the kids and adults grow with Harry in the series and I've gotten to share the experience with them," she said.