The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 7, 2001


Unraveling the mystique of Harry Potter

Asking people to compare a book to a movie in a town of readers isn't an easy job. Nonetheless, it surprised me to find out how many adults in town had not only read one Harry Potter novel but had read all four books about the engaging character created by J.K.Rowling. Yet most adults queried had not seen the movie, and said they planned to wait for availability of a videotaped version. It was also interesting to find out who hadn't read the book.

"We were surprised to find a lot of adults requesting the audiotape," said Gleason Library Director Ellen Rauch. The variety of patron queries for the printed version has resulted in the library's stacking copies of Harry Potter books in both the adult and children's fiction sections.

If you want to read about Harry Potter, you might find yourself at the bookstore. The Gleason Library owns four printed copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997), two of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999), three of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), and six of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000). Only one copy of the Prisoner and one of the Goblet are on hand. The Carlisle School library and media center has five copies of Sorcerer's Stone, three of Chamber, three of Prisoner, and three of Goblet. All are currently in circulation.

"It's done wonders for developing an interest in reading for kids," said Carlisle Schools' head librarian Sandy Kelly about Rowling's books. "We live in a society of video and yet there's this great interest in children's literature. It's been a wonderful phenomenon."

Several literate adults quietly confessed that they had not been able to read more than a third of the first Harry Potter novel. They said they found the writing too juvenile, and preferred to spend their limited reading time with more challenging material. Many carried heavy tomes out of the Gleason, adding veracity to the claim. If these voracious readers can spare two-and-a-half hours, there's another way to follow the Harry Potter story in 2001. (Otherwise, these "muggles" may find their vocabulary seriously jeopardized!)

Viewed against a foggy and gray sky, a Victorian lamppost at the Gleason library provided the perfect backdrop to musing about Harry Potter.

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito