Virtual magic show to promote reading in South Algonquin

According to Charlene Alexander, the head librarian and CEO of the South Algonquin Public Library, there is going to be a virtual summer reading program featuring Ottawa-based magician Chris Pilsworth, on June 23 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. To sign up for this exciting session, Alexander asks that you contact her at

Alexander says that Pilsworth sent out emails to area libraries a few months ago saying that he had developed a summer program to encourage reading for kids.

“So, I thought, why not? We haven’t been doing any kind of programming for a while so we thought this might be a nice thing for our patrons,” she says.

While there were no registrations as of June 16, Alexander was hopeful that would change as the event draws closer. She says there are 100 spots available on the Zoom call for the event, so she also extended the invitation to a couple of other local libraries and their patrons. She has also shared it on Facebook and with the local schools and daycares, asking them to send the information home with the kids to their families.

“Even prior to this, in meeting with other librarians, it seems the kids are fatigued from being online so much and I’m like, well what do we do? People are asking us to do something and its hard to know what to do. So, I’m hoping because it’s an interactive virtual magic show, I thought it would be really cool. I’m hoping it’s going to be a fun, well attended event,” she says.

Pilsworth is the award-winning magician ( who came up with this virtual summer reading event on June 23.

“The idea for a show promoting reading is a natural fit for me and if I can get kids excited about the discoveries they can make at the library through reading, that makes me very happy!” he says.

Pilsworth says that he started doing magic when he was 11 years old, after his brother had taken out some magic books from their public library.

“We didn’t live in a big city, so the magic books were a great way and a gateway to learn. Many tricks in my first shows were created from the instructions in the books that I borrowed multiple times. Without those books, I more than likely wouldn’t be a professional magician today. Since my university days, I’ve been performing full-time and my magic has literally taken me around the world,” he says.

According to Pilsworth, the virtual Zoom show he’s created for libraries is a really creative blend of jaw-dropping magic and very funny sight gags.

“I’ve created magic my whole career and the audience will see mysteries that have never been attempted by any other magician on the planet,” he says. “If all the five-star Google reviews for my magic are any indication, I know the audience from the library are going to have a blast!

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times

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