Arts and Culture

The Louisville Free Public Library is bringing magic to muggles this weekend.

The main branch (301 York Street) will host a launch party Saturday for the new book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and its exhibit, Harry Potter’s World, will be on display.

The new exhibit transforms the Bernheim Gallery into Diagon Alley. It features various Harry Potter memorabilia as well as storefronts modeled after those from the books and movies, including Quality Quidditch Supplies, Eeylops Owl Emporium and Flourish & Blotts.

"Diagon Alley" at Louisville Free Public LibraryGrace Runkel |

“Diagon Alley” at Louisville Free Public Library (click photo to enlarge)

The installation is part of this year’s summer reading program, called “Reading is Magical,” an initiative aimed at keeping kids reading on grade level during the summer.  

LFPL’s communications director Paul Burns said between 50,000 and 60,000 kids typically participate in the summer reading program, and last year 30,000 completed the required reading.

“This exhibit is just one more way to get kids excited about reading, to spark their imagination,” said Burns. “It’s just a lot of fun to see the kids enjoying the exhibit and getting excited about books.”

Nicholas Prince, 11, said he’s been a Harry Potter fan since he first read the books in second grade. Prince visited the Diagon Alley exhibit and said it was cool to see scenes from the books and movies in real life.

This weekend, Prince will pick up his own copy of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

“I’ve read all the Harry Potter books and I can’t wait to read another,” said Prince. “I like the magic in them. It’s kind of cool to experience how the author thinks magic works.”

Saturday’s book release party will start at 8 p.m. and feature animals from the Louisville Zoo, potions made by the Louisville Science Center and magic tricks performed by the Frazier History Museum.

The Harry Potter’s World exhibit is on display through August 7. More information can be found here