As another year draws to a close, we are grateful for the dynamic moments and experiences we’ve shared with our patrons. Looking back at 2019, what a year it has been at McAllen Public Library! We approach the end of a decade with this countdown of our most noteworthy achievements this past year, and look ahead to another decade of opportunities to offer engage and connect with our community!
10. PERSONAL FINANCE COLLECTION
After receiving a grant from the FINRA Foundation, Main Library expanded its personal finance collections and began sharing fraud prevention messages to help residents make well-informed financial decisions following a FEMA-declared major natural disaster in the region.
9. MCALLEN PUBLIC LIBRARY LAUNCHES “MY FIRST LIBRARY CARD”
We celebrated Library Card Sign-Up Month by inviting parents to open-up a world of infinite possibilities with the new “My First Library Card.”
The bright and colorful card features a friendly and iconic tuxedo-wearing library cat. The adorable black and white cat proudly carries an MPL card and book. The “My First Library Card” gives a glimpse of the Library’s new, unnamed mascot. A contest to name the library cat is forthcoming.
8. SUMMER READING PROGRAM AND FINALE
In June and July, McAllen Public Library saw a successful Summer Reading Program celebrating A Universe of Stories.
2,883 children of all ages and teens registered to participate in the program that encouraged fun and interesting program participation and of course, reading. Children and teens earned Read Down Your Fines vouchers to go towards overdue fees that they could use themselves or donate. MPL hosted a pool party for 665 program participants and their families to mark the end of the program.
In early January, MPL began offering free access to the Kanopy streaming video service. Kanopy can be used on a web browser or by downloading the app on a smart device. Patrons with an MPL library card or ecard are able to register to use this service, and can watch up to four films per month.
6. EXPANSION OF STEM & STORYTIME BACKPACK PROGRAM
McAllen Public Library expanded its STEM & Storytime Backpack Program, which is now available at all MPL locations, with TSLAC funding. The Impact Grant funded the purchase of materials needed to create forty STEM and forty Storytime backpacks, increasing MPL’s inventory of backpacks from 12 to 92. The project was an innovative approach to address illiteracy and STEM deficiencies in McAllen, and provides patrons enhanced access to STEM and literacy materials.
5. COLLABORATIONS WITH COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
By collaborating with other community leaders and organizations, at MPL we can use their expertise to give us unique insight and guidance when providing new or improved services and programs to our patrons. A couple of examples of these partnerships we’ve made this past year include:
We joined Temple Emanuel in hosting the McAllen Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Main Library. The event welcomed people of all faiths and ages in a ceremony featuring speaker Tim Lorsch, who performed a one-man, one-hour show based on his family’s experiences of the Holocaust and their story of survival.
One of our most popular events this year held at the Main Library included the Children’s Festival: “Francisco Gabilondo Soler Cri-Cri”, which was a cultural festival for children of all ages presented by the Consulado de México en McAllen. Children from McAllen and Reynosa, Tamaulipas enjoyed storytelling, music, dancing, and other special performances in celebration of Francisco Gabilondo Soler.
4. ESL/ CIVICS CLASS
Region One Education is one of the largest providers of free, bilingual secondary education classes for adults in the region. Our collaborations have included providing GED and ESL classes at the Main Library, and now will be bringing an ESL/ Civics Class to provide more tools for immigrants within the community to achieve Citizenship status.
3. NEW MPL WEBSITE
After more than ten years, McAllen Public Library has a brand new website! The new www.mcallenlibrary.net echoes the Main Library: colorful, attractive, and modern, with an image-driven homepage and user-friendly drop-down menus.
2. FAMILY PLACE PLAY AREA AT LARK BRANCH LIBRARY
In September, Lark Branch Library became one of the first libraries to receive state funding from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to become a Family Place Expansion Library.
The Family Place Play Area at Lark Branch Library is a dedicated space for young children inside the Lark Branch Library, located at 2601 Lark Avenue. Parents and children are encouraged to play and learn together, and to interact with each other and make new friends. The goal of this space is to encourage parental involvement in a child’s early learning and development, and to promote literacy from birth onwards.
1. MPL WINS AWARDS
In 2019, we were honored and delighted at McAllen Public Library to have received thirteen awards, including our first ever International Festival and Events (IFEA) Gold Award for Best Invitation (for the Murder Mystery fundraiser 2018), 11 Texas Festival & Events (TEFA) Marketing Awards for our newly-rebranded South Texas Book Festival, and a Texas Library Association (TLA) Branding Iron Award in the Rebranding category for the promotional campaign that revamped the McAllen Book Festival to the South Texas Book Festival.