OCEAN PARK — Ten-year-old Tyler Wyman of Huntington Beach, California is many things: a cotillion student, a good money-manager, a philanthropist, an avid baseball player and a little league umpire. But most of all, he is a “huge” Harry Potter fan.
Naturally, he was concerned when he learned that his Grandma Pat Wyman’s library — the Ocean Park branch of the Timberland Regional Library — did not have its very own set of Harry Potter books.
He knew he had to do something about the situation. So, when he and his family came to visit in March, he donated a complete set that he bought with his own money.
“It just dawned on me one day that I could purchase a set of Harry Potter for a library that doesn’t have any,” Tyler said in a May 3 phone interview. “I know the kids there would love to read, and I would like to share the joy that I have reading them with some other people.”
Tyler, a fourth-grader at S.A. Moffet Elementary in Huntington Beach, clearly has a knack for capitalizing on his passions. Take baseball, for example.
“I love it,” Tyler said. “Baseball is my favorite thing to do. I made a song called ‘Baseball’.” He’s also made a part-time job out of it. His league allows players to umpire for divisions that are at least two years younger. After completing some training, Tyler earned his place on a roster of child-umpires the coaches can hire.
“That’s how I make my money,” Tyler explained. “Sometimes my schedule’s fairly booked so I can’t do any that month. But this season, I have been assigned to seven games and have done six of them,” he said.
He earns $25 per game — not a bad income for a fourth-grader, but Tyler doesn’t live like a high-roller.
“Really, I put most of it into the bank,” Tyler said. He does allow himself to spend some money on family vacations, like the recent trip to Ocean Park to visit his grandma, Pat Wyman. And, in keeping with a Wyman family tradition, he donates some of his earnings to a good cause.
“It’s our family policy that we do something with 10 percent of our money, whether it’s tithing to the church or giving back to the community,” his father, Kevin Wyman said.
For Tyler, “giving back” meant sharing J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular series about a boy-wizard with other kids. He has read all seven novels in the series, and watched all of the movies. He’s also made a significant investment in Harry Potter “swag”.
“I have wands and robes and all these other fun Harry potter accessories,” Tyler said, adding that he plans to dress as Harry Potter at an upcoming cotillion dance. His favorite character is Harry’s redheaded sidekick, Ron Weasley, because he’s funny.
“I knew I was going up to visit my grandparents for spring break,” Tyler said. “... so I thought that would be the perfect time to use my donation money to purchase Harry Potter books for the library.”
Tyler spent about $60 on the set. During the trip, he dropped in to present them to the library, where staff were delighted to receive them.
“I have to say, I felt like they were fairly appreciative, which made me happy. They thanked me and took them into the back. I saw them unwrap the books,” Tyler recalled. “I was pretty excited to see that happen, because I wanted them to get out there as fast as possible.”
Ocean Park children’s librarian Frances Makowski said the library is one of 27 Timberland branches. The public library system serves Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Mason and Thurston counties.
Systemwide, Timberland has at least 30 copies of the series, as well as copies of each of the movies and some other J.K. Rowling titles, Makowski said. However, the books are borrowed frequently, so they wear out over time. They’re also shared among members of all of the branches, some of which have many more users than the local branches.
“They’re all available within the system, but if you came here and wanted to see one of the series, you may or may not find it in the Ocean Park library,” Makowski said on May 3. Thanks to Tyler’s donation, the library will have what’s known as a “core copy” — a complete series that will live in Ocean Park.
“Even if they get checked out [by users at other branches], they’ll eventually all end back up here,” Makowski said.
The books will be on the shelves as soon as the official library labels are ready. According to Makowski, it’s been 20 years since the first book in the series came out, but library users still clamor for them.
“They are very popular books, and they will get checked out,” Makowski said.
Spreading the joy of Harry Potter was a definite highlight of the trip for Tyler, but it wasn’t the only memorable thing about his visit to the Peninsula.
Since his Southern California beach town is famed for its mild, pleasant climate, he was especially impressed with the local weather. One day, he got to experience “a pretty heavy downpour.” The next day, a power outage, “Which was actually kind of fun since we don’t have power outages near us.”
Tyler liked the scenery so much that he briefly burst into song while describing it.
“We don’t have many places around [Huntington Beach] that are just forests and greenery, which I want,” Tyler explained. “That was kind of nice to be out in an open area where there was nature and all that stuff to do, and there wasn’t concrete and pollution.”