LCF Library hopes Potter casts a spell

Melissa Rajala was never afraid to make the midnight trek to the bookstore to pick up the newest book of the Harry Potter series as soon as it hit the shelves, even if she didn’t fit J.K. Rowling’s primary demographic.

“I was one of the oldest people there, but it’s one of my favorites,” Rajala said.

Rajala, the children’s librarian at the La Cañada Flintridge Library, began wondering what Harry Potter could do for her library after having made such an impact on her. She came up with the idea to host a Wizard Movie Marathon and screen all the available Harry Potter films at the library.

“This is a way to get people to come in [to the library] any way that we can,” Rajala said. “Obviously, it has a great tie to reading, which is our whole point of being here.”

The Wizard Movie Marathon began June 2 with the first film, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” drawing a crowd of about 40 people. The marathon takes place once a week, each Thursday at 3 p.m., until the showing of the most recent film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I” on July 14, just one day before the final Harry Potter film, the “Deathly Hallows, Part II,” hits theaters on July 15.

Mark Totten, the community library manager for the La Cañada Flintridge Library, said the Wizard Movie Marathon is a great way to kick off the summer and the library’s annual Summer Reading Program.

The Summer Reading Program features story times throughout the week for children of all ages, bingo for kids, family films and special programs, including a puppet show, magician, musician, juggler and an African safari provided by a wildlife company. The program concludes on Aug. 12 with an end-of-summer ice cream party from 2 to 4 p.m.

“It encourages people to come into the library,” Totten said of the program. “If parents don’t know what to do with their children in the summer, they can bring them into the library because we’re doing quite a few programs.”

Rajala said Harry Potter is one of those rare book series that comes along every so often and creates a renewed passion for reading, especially in children. Now she’s waiting for the next to come along.

“Hopefully something new comes,” Rajala said. “The Percy Jackson series is getting some attention, and it’s capable of creating that same fire. You should definitely check it out.”

The La Cañada Flintridge Library is located at 4545 Oakwood Ave. For more information on the Wizard Movie Marathon or Summer Reading Program, visit the library’s website,, or call (818) 790-3330.

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