The magic of school libraries

By Belinda Cameron

Belinda Cameron, Teacher Librarian at Maclean High School, embarks on an adventure in literacy, creativity, collaboration, and magic.

Harry Potter themed event in school library

As we seek to establish and maintain vital connections with our students, staff, teachers and families, special events within our library spaces are central to the work of connected communities.

Stories are central to the work of teacher librarians. The story of Harry Potter is so engaging that at Maclean High School, it has become a catalyst for an annual connection, involving our school community in a night of literacy, creativity, collaboration, technology and entertainment.

Teacher librarians must continue to seek out ways to connect with our school communities.

In the story of Harry Potter, ‘Accio!’ is a charm that summons an object towards the spell caster. Personal Harry Potter collections are summoned and shared by participants, and they adorn team tables set up ready for judging. In the days prior, science teachers collaboratively share their skeletons and jars of creepy specimens, creative and performing arts props are delivered, recipes for Butterbeer shared, and Harry Potter inspired treats donated. Over a 48-hour period, every corner of our library is transformed into spaces including The Great Dining Hall, Hagrid’s Hut and Professor Sprout’s Herbarium.

These props later become the backdrop for team-based competitions, such as Harry Potter Trivia, STEM activities, and greenscreen photography challenges. Literacy smoothly integrated with technology ensures collaboration
is captured creatively, appearing like magic, in real time!

Wizards, witches and muggles enter via a foyer filled with a bubbling cauldron, their individual Hogwarts acceptance letter in hand. Staff members in costume are met with surprise and delight by students and their families. ‘Is that Miss …? She looks just like Professor Sprout!’ The energy and talent behind handmade props such as baby mandrakes made by a learning support staff member are on display. They delight even the most avid Harry Potter fans.

With COVID-19 momentarily halting the usual community events in school libraries all over the world, we have had to cancel our Harry Potter Evening. However, as Dumbledore reminds us, ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’. Just like Ron, Harry and Hermione facing the challenges of Hogwarts, teacher librarians must continue to seek out ways to connect with our school communities. We are presently challenged to consider alternative approaches for community connection. Like all wizards living in the Muggle world, we will rely on collaboration, the sharing of individual strengths and resources, plus a dash of magic for good measure.

Magic always happens in our library spaces.

Image credits

Images supplied by Belinda Cameron

Belinda Cameron

Belinda Cameron

Teacher Librarian

Maclean High School

Belinda Cameron, Teacher Librarian at Maclean High School, is a Connected Learning educator who enjoys working with whole school communities. You can find Belinda at