Andrea Woodruff, supervising librarian at the Lodi Public Library, said she's never seen people react to a book the way they react to the "Harry Potter" series.
With pre-orders in the millions for J.K. Rowling's seventh and final Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," fans everywhere are trying to be the first to get their hands on the book.
And that's just what people who sell the book want - to a degree.
Staff at the Lodi Public Library said distributors of the novel had them sign affidavits swearing that nobody would look at the book before its July 21 release date.
The library has been warned before not to release books before the official date, said library services director Nancy Martinez, but they have never had to sign a legal document.
To ensure that each retailer is stocked with copies of the coveted book, publishers must send out the book prior to its release date. The problem with that is that the people who sell the book will have access to it.
Hence the affidavit.
Woodruff said publishers had initially scoffed at the idea of making an audio version of the book because the person reading it would have to get an advanced copy.
"Then all those people would know," Woodruff said.
• The Lodi Public Library will also adhere to its normal business hours.
• Readers can pre-order their copy of the book at Borders Web site, http://www.bordersstore.com, for in-store pick up.
• Readers can also pre-order their copy at http://www.amazon.com. Those who order by July 17 are guaranteed to receive their book on July 21, or it is free.
- News-Sentinel staff.
However, publishers soon caved and an audio version of the book will also be available the day of the release.
The library is scheduled to receive 15 copies of the book on July 20 to allow time for processing. According to Martinez, if a book is highly anticipated, staff will order three or four copies to lend.
"There's nothing like Harry Potter," Martinez said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the library had 41 requests for the book. Those who do get a copy will get to keep it for the standard three week lending period.
That list includes most of the library staff, who have to wait in line with the rest of the general public to read the book.
Behjat Kerdegari, one of the librarians who serves young adults, denies that she'll sneak a peek of the book before it makes its way to the shelves.
"We're supposed to lock it away," she said.
Until its release, curious librarians will have to settle for talking about the book with library patrons like Jon Ibarra, 28, Lauren Hilton, 11, and Zachary Lee, 11. The trio happened upon each other at the library on Wednesday afternoon while asking a librarian about the release of the book.
Ibarra, who has read all six released books, counseled the two children, who haven't completed all of them on how to fully enjoy the experience.
"Don't let anybody tell you," he said, and the group quickly began discussing the topic.
Woodruff said she has never seen a book that got children and adults to read like "Harry Potter."
Woodruff, whose mother was also a librarian, said her mother used to hate the "Nancy Drew" books and their popularity, but Woodruff doesn't see it that way.
"I don't care what they read as long as they read."