Pottermore will make J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone e-book available to UK library users over a two-week period to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its publication.
The global digital publisher of Harry Potter and J K Rowling’s Wizarding World is ensuring “unfettered digital access” to the first book in the series through library distribution apps OverDrive, BorrowBox from Bolinda and Askews & Holts from 26th June, two decades since the Bloomsbury published the title. The unlimited number of loans will be available until 9th July.
Pottermore is arming libraries with digital and physical tools such as posters, flyers, social media materials and competition ideas to help them publicise the free loans. Library users are also being encouraged engage in social conversations using #HarryPotter20 or by joining Pottermore’s Wizarding World Book Club which is also being launched in celebration of the 20th anniversary. The Twitter account, @wwbookclub, already has more than 17k followers. Last week Pottermore launched its first art collection with pieces capturing significant moments from the seven books.
The announcement comes as controversy over dwindling public libraries deepens. Former libraries minister Rob Wilson lost his seat following Thursday’s General Election and campaigners have called on his successor to hold local authorities to account. Children’s author and library campaigner Alan Gibbons said that Wilson had been a "virtually invisible minister”. He said: "The Tories have presided over an appalling period for the libraries sector, seeing hundreds of libraries close, book stocks slashed, a quarter of librarians dismissed and opening hours reduced dramatically.”
Hay Festival recently agreed to continue part-funding the town's local library following withdrawal of council support and many dozens of others around the country are earmarked for closure including British Book Awards Library Service of the Year shortlistee Walsall Libraries. Sixty-seven libraries closed in Great Britain last year, with funding slashed by £25m, research from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) revealed.