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PNLA 2019 Conference

Centennial Hotel - Spokane, Washington

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Thursday, August 8 • 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Rewriting Harry Potter: Creating Intergenerational Magic

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JK Rowling’s expansion of the known wizarding world in the United States via the Pottermore website created considerable excitement, but also sparked controversy regarding the misrepresentation and appropriation of Native American cultures. By way of response, we invited our community to help build an #OwnVoices narrative. By contributing their personal traditions and experiences, each program participant helped establish an authentic and respectful community ‘fanon’ (fanfiction that is perpetuated as though canon). An integral part of the process was creating volunteer opportunities tailored to each individual’s interests, skills, and drive. Our goal was to provide a meaningful experience that was rewarding for both the volunteer and the library. The result was a ‘partnership’ between Ilvermorny (the American Hogwarts) and eight libraries. WAMPUS (Wizarding Accreditation of Magic Proficiency for the Unconventionally Schooled—the wizarding equivalent of a GED) and middle and high school students could register to attend ‘classes,’ many of which were intergenerational, over a three-month semester. We will share a bit of the magic (for example, the 6’ animatronic sorting statues and the tesla coil used for wand matching), important lessons we learned, and ways you might use or adapt the program for your own library. We will also share how this program is evolving into a social advocacy focused Harry Potter club as well as a ‘tech-quity’ program series intended to give girls (especially of non-dominant community groups) firsthand experience in a variety of STEM careers. 

1)    To give an example of a series that integrated connected learning, intergenerational and patron driven programming to meaningfully engage our community, then discuss ways to adapt these programs for any size library. To provide examples of and discuss how to reframe standing programs to draw in new audiences.
2) To explain how we redesigned our volunteer program around the talents and interests of community members instead of around set tasks. To discuss how this restructuring strengthened our connections not just to teens, but also to their families. Additionally, to examine how restructuring diversified our volunteer force so that it better reflects our communities demographics.
3) To demonstrate the magic by recreating the sorting and wand matching experience, then revealing the community engagement opportunities behind everything. To discuss how ‘house points’ became intrinsic motivation for participation and how that can be replicated or adapted.

avatar for Elenya Herring

Elenya Herring

enherring@kcls.org, King County Library System
I've been a teen services librarian for 6 years and specialize in unconventional intergenerational and connected learning programming with a focus on engaging marginalized youth and their communities. This has included organizing Meow Fest, an internet cat video festival that brings... Read More →

Thursday August 8, 2019 4:30pm - 5:15pm PDT
Riverfront Ballroom B