Accio money! Retired Glastonbury school librarian’s Harry Potter windfall

By Laura Linham

19th Mar 2023 | Local News

The book collection went up for auction at Hansons Auctioneers on March 7 and sold for £1,000
The book collection went up for auction at Hansons Auctioneers on March 7 and sold for £1,000

A chance meeting with a children's author 23 years ago granted a £1,000 cash windfall for a retired Glastonbury school librarian.

 In 1999 Janette Tuckwell was working at Millfield Preparatory School in Glastonbury when she received a call from Waterstones bookshop in Wells.

 Janette, who lives near Bristol, said: "They told me they had a children's author coming to the shop and would I Iike to arrange for pupils to come along. I said yes and, together with an English teacher, took a Year 6 class of 10 and 11 years old to the store. 

 "The children's author turned out to be J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books! At that time, her books were popular but the Potter phenomenon hadn't gone global. 

"She was brilliant with the pupils. I remember being very impressed by her dedication and the way she handled the children's questions. If they asked something about the books she would refer to a character or plot line to make sure they had read it. She was very thorough and professional. 

 "I took a photo of her with the pupils and she signed two books for me. They have been gathering dust on a bookshelf for more than 20 years but, after reading an article about how sought-after Potter books are, I decided to contact Hansons Auctioneers." 

The book collection went up for auction at Hansons Auctioneers on March 7 and sold for £1,000 less than its initial valued price of £1,500 ($1,800) to £2,000 ($2,400),

Janette, who has two grown-up children and worked for 21 years as a school librarian at Millfield, recalls Harry Potter books' huge impact on pupils in the late 1990s and beyond. 

She said: "The Potter books were a godsend to libraries. They got so many kids into reading. They had to keep up as they liked to discuss the plot with their friends. I read the first couple of Potter books and enjoyed them. Everyone was reading them." 

  • J.K. Rowling is considered one of the most prolific and successful authors of all time for writing the fictional Harry Potter series, but her real-life opinions have been marred with controversy for her views regarding the rights of transgender people.


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