Like a lot of young boys, I developed a great love of magic and would perform for family and friends. Living in rural Ontario before the development of the Internet, I was limited to the books and magazines that were available, often from the public library. There wasn't the same opportunity for community and mentoring for isolated youth that's now available with Web sites and forums.

I gradually became disillusioned by the packet tricks I would purchase and the lack of substance in the magic I was practicing. I felt no sense of development. My experience was the same as many teens; magic was a hobby that I abandoned when I went to University.

Two decades later, my interest in magic was renewed. While enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science program, I discovered the University's access to the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature database and the books by Victorian magicians that I had admired. As I began to read more widely, it became apparent that there was an opportunity to create magic specifically for libraries to promote literacy and library resources.

Following a year that involved writing, designing, prop-building and photography, Library Legerdemain is complete. There are ten effects, five each for individuals and groups, and I am enormously proud of the result.

  • Library Legerdemain:
    Using Magic To Connect With Children

  • by Michael Manchester

  • ISBN: 978-0-9917029-0-9

  • 108 Pages, 166 Black and White photographs

  • 8.5" X 5.5", Paperback


Effects for Individuals - Select the tabs to read a brief description of each effect.

Seven books are randomly narrowed to a single title that the librarian had predicted.

A message appears on a signed piece of paper inside a closed book.

A child makes one picture book transform into another using magic words and gestures.

A library bookmark is signed by the child then cut in two. It is magically restored.

Seven letters are randomly selected from a face-down pile of alphabet cards and attached to a board. They match a word written by the librarian.

Effects for Groups - Select the tabs to read a brief description of each effect.

The librarian asks for one book in a display to be named and then proves that this was predicted.

While the librarian's back is turned, bookmarks are personalized. These are collected and mixed. But the librarian is able to match them with the appropriate child.

Three students write down a random number and these are added by a fourth student. The result matches a book in the collection. When the group goes to that area of the library, the book contains a message from the future.

Students discover a change to their classroom after a school visit to the library.

A paperback is balanced on top of two hardcovers. One is removed and the paperback remains suspended.


As I've stated many times, I love the sight and smell and feel and sound and taste of a real book. I suspect that Michael Manchester shares my passion because he has written a book devoted to magically turning children on to the joy of reading. To achieve that end, he has clothed ten familiar effects with presentations that encourage the young whippersnappers to read.

The author's target audience isn't magicians, but teachers and library staff. What a novel, niche notion.

Mr. Manchester writes well and does a good job of teaching the material. I was pleased that he includes a bibliography that cites the sources of some of the concepts that he discusses.

I applaud any endeavor that encourages kids to read books, and possibly fall in love with section 793.8 of the library. Mr. Manchester's book is a welcomed step in the right direction.


Tom Frame
Full review: http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=45501

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