Library Prepares for 18th Annual Harry Potter Day, July 27

About 18 years ago, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published. It is the third in one of the most popular series of novels in the world. The series has seven books, eight movies, five theme parks and millions of fans. The Coronado Public Library also began Harry Potter Day 18 years ago.

Harry Potter Day is one of the most popular events the library produces. Over 150 people participate on average. 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the series, and coordinator and children’s librarian EllenJoy Weber expects this year’s Harry Potter Day to be a big one.

Prior to July 26, volunteers made wand boxes and a friend of Weber made specialty wands. They also ordered supplies, created the sorting hat and planned out the day.

Volunteers put small white boxes into larder cardboard box
Volunteers sort wand boxes.

July 26

Harry Potter Day is on July 27, so the main preparations occur on July 26. A dozen volunteers gathered in the Winn Room of the library and signed in.

Volunteers Sign 7

They pulled out tables and set them up.

tables set up in winn roomMost of the volunteers went to the outside storage locker to get lights and decor. Other volunteers sat in the kitchen to prepare sweets with adult volunteers Kathy Acuna and Cate Dau.

Lights and DecorVolunteers wrap candyEssentially, Harry Potter Day is an interactive Diagon Alley. There are 14 tables, each standing for a store featured in the Harry Potter novels or a specialty store of the library’s own invention.

The Stores*

  1. Magical Menagerie: Adopt an owl!
  2. Quality Quidditch Supplies: Buy a broom (pin)!
  3. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes: Buy the right to skip class with Fever Fudge!
  4. Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment: Get a flying key!
  5. Olivander’s Wands: Buy a wand!
  6. Leaky Cauldron: Take a break with a delicious butterbeer!
  7. Honeydukes: Buy some Exploding BonBons (exploding with flavor, that is).
  8. Trelawney’s Fortunes: Discover your future!
  9. Flourish & Blotts: Stationary galore!
  10. Moonstones Gems & Jewels:Buy a Mermaid Tears Pendants (no mermaids were saddened in the making of this product).
  11. Slug & Jiggers Apothecary: Put some pep in your step with Pepper Up Potion!
  12. Gringotts:Exchange your muggle money.
  13. Floo Network Fireplaces: Travel anywhere (within the wizarding world).
  14. Sorting Hat: Find out if you are a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw…
* The event is free, all “buy” is for phrasing purposes only. Supplies are limited, especially the wands.


Volunteers worked with Weber to set up the room properly. They rushed around from section to section and sorted through the decor. Acuna hung floating candles from the ceiling. The young volunteers laughed, made jokes and discussed Harry Potter.Acuna hangs candlesVolunteer Madelyn Stellpflug began volunteering and read Harry Potter in sixth grade at 11 years old. She said she spent much of her childhood in the library and finding out that she could work there was an amazing opportunity that she couldn’t pass up.

“I think that everyone can find something to relate to in Harry Potter and it gave me a place to go when the world was too much. It is home,” Stellpflug said. “The best thing about Harry Potter Day is seeing how excited the kids get. They think it’s real because it is real to them.”

The first shift ended at 12 pm and one volunteer asked, “What will second shift do?”

“There is much left to do,” Weber replied and continued helping the other volunteers hang backgrounds.

Harry Potter and its contents belong to JK Rowling. Harry Potter Day by The Coronado Public Library is free and open to the public. It runs from 2:30-5pm on Thursday, July 27!

Second Shift

Second shift brought many of the first shift volunteers as well as new ones. This shift focused more on decoration, but several tables still required basic set up.The volunteers brought out signs for the stores and events. The adult volunteers began hanging the store signs from the ceiling.

Harry Potter Signs“Magical Menagerie, Fortunes, Apothecary,” Weber instructed the volunteers to take various decor to their stores.

decor harry potter dayThe Leaky Cauldron stood tablecloth-less for a while as the volunteers waited for a plastic one to be brought in. Butterbeer is sticky, after all.

References to the novels abounded as everyone joked about spells and each others names. Weber pointed to a tall, pale boy and told “Ron Weasley” to take down a photo before having other volunteers organize various glass bottles onto a shelf.

Certain stores came together rather quickly but others had to be completely redone. While Pumpkin Juice and Gilly Water will not be available, the decor does include bottles that appear to be from Harry Potter World (Universal Studios). The Apothecary and Flourish and Blotts received much of the attention, with more decor initially than others.

apothecary volunteers harry potter day flourish and blotts harry potter dayAfter the decor for these was finalized, the Magical Menagerie received a large delivery of (stuffed) animals, magical and otherwise. Two volunteers organized the fortune boxes and others hung the wall of Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment.

(Author’s Note: At this point I was beginning to “geek out” and get excited.)

The beauty and complexity of each table grew as the afternoon progressed. Stellpflug told stories from previous years, when she worked as a potions teacher.

Then, the Great Hall came together. Volunteers climbed ladders to hang house banners. The Ravenclaw banner features a raven rather than an eagle, but much of Harry Potter memorabilia includes this mistake.

Honey Dukes and Weasley’s Wizarding Weazes got some attention. Volunteers add advertising stickers, build sets, and try on costumes for their roles tomorrow. One cute addition is the owls. Acuna worked with other volunteers to set them up on hanging branches so the wide variety can be seen.

volunteers set up wls harry potter dayWeber assigns volunteers stores to work at as volunteers begin to tape table clothes onto the Great Hall tables. Be warned, though, there is no spelling in the Great Hall!

Winding Down

At 4 pm, the majority of the volunteers went home. A few remained to put the final touches on the sets. They plugged in various light effects and I helped hang a missing sign or two. They set out the various favors and searched for missing pieces. The Winn Room became a land of magic, awaiting its people.

“Stay tuned for more craziness,” Weber said before closing the Winn room for the night.



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Taylor is a 2015 Coronado High School graduate and now a senior at The University of Texas at Tyler getting her Bachelor's in Mass Communications with a focus in Multimedia Journalism. She is also minoring in Graphic Design and Spanish. After graduating college she will return to San Diego.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: