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Libraries sworn to secrecy about `Potter'

April 11, 2007|From the Associated Press

FARMINGTON, UTAH — No peeking.

The publisher of the new Harry Potter novel has strict rules for libraries handling the book this summer.

Among them: Libraries must limit the number of employees who handle the books before the July 21 release and provide names and contact information for each branch manager, according to the contract from Scholastic Inc.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the final book in J.K. Rowling's popular series about the boy wizard.

Davis County Library Director Pete Giacoma got a contract recently and shared it with county commissioners here. "I think we better ratify," Commissioner Bret Millburn said. "I think we'd get a spell cast on us."

The contract says failure to keep "Deathly Hallows" under wraps until July 21 could get libraries scratched from future embargoed titles. "We acknowledge and agree that any such violation will cause irreparable harm to Scholastic and the author, J.K. Rowling, and that monetary damages will be inadequate to compensate for violations," the contract states.

Davis County libraries have ordered 150 copies. Salt Lake County's library system has ordered 652 books for its 18 branches. Salt Lake City wants 150.

Despite the "weighty, ominous" language, Giacoma said he takes the contract seriously, although it may be part of the marketing strategy.

The rules are required to honor Rowling's wish to preserve a "magical moment" for children, Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good said.

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