'Harry Potter' Enchants Local Libraries

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Byline: Russell Lissau Daily Herald Staff Writer

Lake County libraries are celebrating today's release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" with a variety of contests, activities and displays about the film and the book series that inspired it.

Librarians also are excited about how the film has increased interest in author J.K. Rowling's series about the pint-sized wizard. Many children - and quite a few adults - have sought out the books at local libraries in recent weeks.

"The books always are really popular, but the closer it's gotten to the movie, the less and less they've been out there," said Kim Kaufman, assistant librarian at the Grayslake Area Public Library. "And that's fantastic, because it's good to have kids reading them."

For the uninitiated, the "Harry Potter" stories star a young orphan who is rescued from a horrible life with his aunt and uncle - he actually is forced to live under a staircase - and whisked away to a magical world of witches and wizards. Harry becomes a pupil at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and embarks on a series of wondrous adventures with his friends, fellow students Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

So far, Rowling has written four books about the young wizard: "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." A fifth installment is on the way.

Young library patrons can share their love of the "Potter" books in different ways this month.

At the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, children can enter a drawing for "Potter"-related prizes that include movie tickets, books and toys.

The drawing will be done in private at 4 p.m. Sunday, so winners will be notified by telephone Monday morning.

The library also has a prominent display of the "Potter" books in the children's section.

"They're very popular," said Pam Allen, the youth services program coordinator at Ela. …