On July 21, author J.K. Rowling's final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released to world full of readers eagerly anticipating the finale of the battle between the boy wizard and the evil wizard Voldemort. But in Hesperia, the spell Rowling has cast over readers is unlikely to end any time soon.

The Hesperia Community Library has 10 hardcover copies of each of the earlier Harry Potter books and on a recent Friday, 59 of the books were checked out. And that's the normal state of affairs, according to Robin Singh, the library's young adult specialist.

All that was left on the shelf was a battered and splitting copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

"The ones we have are truly loved," Singh said. "It's been going on ever since the first book came out. And now that they are getting turned into movies, more kids are getting into it every day."

The film version of Order of the Phoenix opened in theaters worldwide on July 11. But even blockbuster films haven't dimmed the appeal of the books with Hesperia library readers.
"The kids come in and say `the book's better.'"

The Hesperia library will be receiving 15 copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, along with two audiobook versions, but there's a catch: The San Bernardino County Library system, for contractual reasons, won't be making their copies available until July 28, a week after the book appears in stores.

Enter the Friends of the Library. The library boosters and volunteers will be buying their own copies of the book -- Singh guesses there will be seven or eight copies purchased -- and donating them to the library on the 21st for readers to check out immediately. And there's a special emphasis on the word "immediately."

"As soon as they're [put] out, they'll be gone, so the [Harry Potter] display will be gone," Singh said. "So if they want it, they better get [here] as soon as they can."

She expects the online reservation system to get fill up as soon as the book is placed on the library's Web site as well.

Although Rowling has not said whether or not she intends to write any new books set in Harry Potter's world, Singh expects the seven Harry Potter books to continue to be popular for years to come.

"Most of the elementary kids, if the other kids are reading it, they have to read it," she said. "I think Harry Potter is going to stay around because of the content. Kids always love wizards, and there's the movies."

Another kid hit, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, ended in October 2006 with the publication of 13th book in the series, The End. The series is still popular with children and young adults, Singh said.

"I think with reading, I think there comes a point when you get turned onto reading, and that's it."

In addition to the Harry Potter and Unfortunate Events books, Singh said the library's younger readers are also crazy for the Magic Tree House, Goosebumps and Junie B. Jones books.

That said, there's something sad about Harry Potter's adventures coming to an end.

"It is kind of sad that she wrote a final chapter," Singh said.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.