Piece by piece, a mini world of wizardry comes to life in library

6020 pieces. 

$400.

Containing the slightest details from Tom Riddle’s Diary on the floor of the Chamber of Secrets, to the enchanted Flying Ford Anglia car.

With every diorama bringing scenes from the books and movies to life.

Assembling a 6000+ piece LEGO set may seem like a daunting prospect, but the intricacy of the realistic design and aesthetics of the Hogwarts LEGO set drew the attention of the Harry Potter teacher and staff club.

Some may think LEGOs are exclusively for children, but what the Harry Potter club built is much more than a playset.

This is something that teachers can kind of turn their like teacher brain off and have some fun,”

— librarian Chelsea Hamilton

Both students and staff can visit the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry through the microscale model displayed in the library.

While they may never receive their letter from Hogwarts or feast with fellow teachers in the Great Hall, librarian Chelsea Hamilton did the next best thing by inviting other staff members to join the Harry Potter Club.

“So I decided over the summer after I went to a librarian training, one of the librarians mentioned that she started a staff Harry Potter club. And I thought that that would be a fun way for teachers across the building to kind of join together and have a common interest,” Hamilton said. “I had a really good turnout, we kind of talked about it, and we think we’re going to maybe do some trivia nights, maybe some cooking through the Harry Potter cookbook. Maybe some read aloud, videos, who knows what we’re gonna do.”

One of the first things the club did is build the $400 LEGO model of the Hogwarts Castle.

“LEGOs are fun. Harry Potter is awesome. So I might as well combine the two,” economics teacher Fred Kaiser said. “The Hogwarts castle had such authentic and detailed architecture so it was really interesting to build at this scale. In a way, it kind of provides some story detail too because everything’s so intricate. It also gave people a chance to you know, when you need to take a break, you can go build with some LEGOs.”

Although Harry Potter takes place in a fantastical world, author J.K Rowling was able to create characters that encountered experiences that many people could relate to. As Harry, Hermione, and Ron were growing up and learning throughout Rowling’s long-loved novels, so were her readers.

“I think a good number of teachers, we just spent so much time reading it. Some of us grew up with it and that kind of shaped who we are and how we think,” Hamilton said. “The first book came out when I was in early elementary school. And so I spent the next 15-20 years reading Harry Potter every time the new book came out, I went to midnight releases, I went to movie nights, I went to all of the things that came out as they were coming out.”

Besides the nostalgia, the life lessons and overarching themes throughout Harry Potter are part of the widespread adoration of the series for Kaiser.

“Oddly enough, even though they have all the issues, there’s a very utopian society and it shows how things should be and what their end result should be,” he said. “It’s an excellent novel of hope and overcoming adversity.”

Amid countless changes and pressures in the classroom due to COVID-19, the Harry Potter Club offers a safe space for teachers to bond over a common interest and alleviate some of these tensions.

LEGOs are fun. Harry Potter is awesome. So I might as well combine the two,”

— economics teacher Fred Kaiser

“The club itself helps teachers across contents get together across the whole school and then it helps teachers de-stress,” Hamilton said. “It’s a very stressful year. It’s a lot different than anything else. So this is something that teachers can kind of turn their like teacher brain off and have some fun.”

Spanish teacher Ashli Taquino believes that Harry Potter is a demonstration of how something can encompass and appeal to such an immense variety of people, regardless of age. 

“I actually didn’t get into Harry Potter until I was an adult and kind of just think it was geeky, and then a friend talked me into reading the books, so I did and I fell in love with it,” Taquino said. “I think it’s so creative. And there’s just drama, there’s comedy, there’s friendship, and of course, there’s the fantasy element. And I think that there’s something in there that appeals to everyone.”

More than a dozen years after the final Harry Potter book was published, the series still has an impact on students. Hear their thoughts by clicking on a dot below.