Harry Potter mania swept Columbia as about 475 Muggles (non-magical people, for those not caught up in the craze) partied in anticipation of the 12:01 a.m. Saturday release of the sixth installment in J.K. Rowling's series about the young wizard.

The event, which began at 9 p.m. Friday at the East Columbia Branch Library, featured a viewing of the movie "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and performances by magician Eric Henning and balloon artist Wes Holly. Children also participated in craft projects associated with the series.

At 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the library began signing out its 350 copies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to people who had reserved the book. Representatives from Borders were on hand to sell the book. Borders declined to say how many books were sold at the event, but Christie Lassen, a library spokeswoman, said more than 100 were preordered from Borders through the library.

The library also lent 70 CDs and 30 cassettes of the book. As of earlier this week, the waiting list at the county's six library branches stood at 211 for the book, 115 for the CD and 77 for the cassette. Related story, Page 4.

Denise Graham of Borders in Columbia, above, begins to open the sealed boxes of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" on Saturday at the East Columbia Branch Library. Kimberly Martin, 11, of Woodbine, right, is surprised as magician Eric Henning makes an egg reappear.Sandra Cartagena, left, places the Sorting Hat on Linnea Lundh, 9, of Columbia. Jonah Brenner, 12, of Dunsmuir, Calif., right, looks over the new book.