Arlington Rolls Out Welcome Mat for Harry Potter


(Tuesday, July 3, 2007 8:04 AM EDT

The Knight Bus usually is only seen on the streets of Harry Potter's London, but in late June, the purple triple-decker bus rolled into Central Library's parking lot, ready for Potter fans to climb on board.

Arlington was one of 37 stops the bus made on its national tour, organized by the Scholastic publishing company.

A total of 225 lucky Harry Potter readers entered the bus and recorded a 20-second video on why they love J.K. Rowling's series of best-sellers. Videos can be accessed on the Scholastic Web site at

“Everybody at Scholastic is excited about the launch of the new book,” said Scholastic representative Paul Niemi. “We're excited, and the fans are, too. What better way to reach them than by having the bus, which is totally representative of the magic of the series, visit their library?”

And what did Arlington's Knight Bus riders have to say about the vehicle and Harry Potter?

“It's very cool,” said Margaret McCracken.

“It smells nice,” said Stephanie Smith. “I love Harry Potter because it's another world. It's such a good story, and awesomely written.”

For those who did not register in time to get on the bus, the library had plenty of Harry Potter-related activities, like wand designing and “Bertie Botts every flavor bean” tasting to keep them busy.

Before the “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” movie comes out on July 11, the library will show one Harry Potter movie a day for the four days leading up to the release date.

The first approximately 200 people on the wait list for the new novel, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” will be invited to a party at the library the night before the book is released. Patrons will be able to check out their holds at midnight.

“It's really exciting being part of Harry Potter,” said youth librarian Gwendolyn Nixon. “It shows the library is not just about reading, but is also about fun.”

Avid Harry Potter fans Margaret McCracken and Stephanie Smith wait for their turn to record a video on the Knight Bus, which recently made a stop at Central Library.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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