Best of 2018 @ MPL

Posted December 28, 2018

As we approach the end of 2018, we are looking back at our most noteworthy achievements this past year at McAllen Public Library. We reflect with gratitude on our wonderful community and the different ways in which they have supported and helped us accomplish our goals, and look ahead to 2019 with excitement!


This summer, McAllen Public Library invited local authors from Hidalgo County to donate one copy of each of their published books to the library for inclusion in the Local Author Collection, which is housed at the Main Library.

“McAllen Public Library recognizes and values the talent of our community. The Local Author Collection is a unique way to highlight our local authors and provide a way for more people to discover their works. More importantly, these books are written by people from our own community and will serve to capture the unique experience of living in this part of the state” said Kate Horan, Library Director.


McAllen Public Library kicked off our fifth annual South Texas Book Festival with Spirit Week, daily activities to celebrate culture, literacy, and fun leading up to the festival. Showcasing the spirit of STBF, the weeklong celebration included a performance by the Las Palmas Ballet Folklorico, our Thank a Veteran program sponsored by H-E-B, sidewalk chalk challenges and bubble fun on the Dewey Trail, and a book launch of The Amazing Watercolor Fish by Carolyn Dee Flores.


In early 2018, we introduced our new and improved Teen S.T.E.M. collection in the Main Library’s Teen Department. You’ll find books on building robots, ACT & SAT Prep, Coding, Science experiments, Raspberry Pi, Makerspace projects and more, available for check out all year round with a valid library card.

As a recipient of the 2018 Texas Library Grant provided by the Texas Book Festival, the Teen Department was able to purchase new and improved books for the S.T.E.M. collection which is crucial for the teens in our community. This collection provides valuable information sources for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.


McAllen Public Library is constantly adapting new ideas as a social hub for learning through fun, innovative, and - most importantly - relevant programming to stay attuned to the shape and needs of our community in order to have the greatest positive impact on our patrons. The following are some of these events held at MPL this past year.

Children were invited to celebrate El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day) with fun, games, crafts, popcorn, a storytime, and a performance by Las Palmas Ballet Folklorico. Every child in attendance also received a free book.

We welcomed more than 4,150 children and their families to the Main Library on Halloween for our Trick or Treat Trail throughout the library. We encouraged families to wear their costume on and head to the library to trick-or-treat in a safe, friendly environment.

For National Poetry Month, we celebrated by hosting a series of readings and panels with local poets, open mic nights, and craft activities. Gloria Anzaldúa, an international literary icon and Valley native, was also honored with a display based on her accomplishments.

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we partnered with UTRGV and Mujeres Unidas to host the Survivor’s Poetry Workshop for sexual assault victims with the purpose of teaching them how poetry can help to ease the stress and pain caused by trauma associated with sexual assault.


Early this year, the City of McAllen and McAllen Public Library proudly celebrated the announcement that Kate Horan, our leader and Library Director, was approved by Hidalgo County Commissioners as County Librarian and President of the Hidalgo County Library System.

The Hidalgo County Library System (HCLS) consists of thirteen public libraries, is supported with funds from Hidalgo County, and strives to promote, coordinate and help provide full and free library services to all residents of Hidalgo County.


After being awarded an Impact Grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Main Library’s Children’s Department was able to establish a Storytime and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) backpack program. Available for checkout, the Storytime backpacks are meant for children under 5 years old, while the STEM backpacks are suitable for children in grades 1st to 5th. They are also available to children with special needs. Each is filled with resources to help children develop the tools for success.


By collaborating with other community leaders and organizations, we were able to host the following unique conferences by using their expertise to give us unique insight and guidance when providing these programs to our patrons:

At MPL, we understand we’re a vital entry point to the community for workforce development and collaborated with Workforce Solutions to host two Job Fairs this year. Over 2,000 attendees were able to connect with employers from several different companies, fill out printed and online applications, and have onsite interviews.

During our 2018 Genealogy & Local History Symposium, which was a six-hour in-depth learning experience, we collaborated with several local organizations to provide sessions and exhibits. Such organizations included the Alamo Museum, Donna Hooks Fletcher Museum,, Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum & World Birding Center, IMAS, Las Porciones Genealogical Society, Las Villas del Norte Genealogy Group, MOSTH, and the RGV Hispanic Genealogical Society.

The Veterans’ Expo is designed to connect our local veterans with helpful community organizations and resources. The public was invited to learn how veterans in the Rio Grande Valley can be served. In our auditorium, there was a panel discussion on empowering veterans to succeed and overcoming life’s challenges. Military Vehicles were also on display.


McAllen Public Library is committed to connecting our community with innovative library services and programs. Our newsletter, MPL Connect, is the next step in keeping our patrons up to date with everything that we have to offer. From books to e-books, CDs to streaming music, and live online tutoring service, we have free resources for the entire family.

To sign up for our newsletter or check out all of our issues, we invite you to visit our website at


Taking one of the top spots on our list are the grants awarded to MPL! These following grants allowed us to introduce quality resources and services that will have a long-lasting impact in our community:

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission awarded the Texas Reads Grant to MPL. Funds from this grant covered $10,000 in costs to invite Laurie Halse Anderson to the 2018 McAllen Book Festival, an event designed expressly to promote literacy and the love of reading among children and teens in the Rio Grande Valley.

We were also awarded two Impact Grants by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, which included $6,000 for our 8-week “Get Started with Computer Basics Program” and $10,000 to expand Main Library’s STEM & Storytime Backpack Program.

The 2018 Texas Library Grant provided by the Texas Book Festival awarded $1,900 to the Main Library’s Teen Department for our new Teen S.T.E.M. Collection.

Main Library’s Teen Department also received the Molina Foundation Grant, which funded us with $2,600 for 28 boxes of books for our 2018 Teen Summer Reading Program.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation (FINRA) Foundation awarded MPL with a $5,000 grant that will allow us to launch our Personal Finance Collection. This Grant will provide MPL with trainings, information, and resources for community aid following natural disasters.


We kicked off our fifth annual book festival with an exciting name change: South Texas Book Festival.

Formerly known as McAllen Book Festival, South Texas Book Festival took place on November 9-10, 2018. Friday, November 9th featured author discussions with local school groups so that students directly engaged with nationally recognized authors. Saturday, November 10th continued to be free and open to the public from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Over 7,650 attendees enjoyed storytimes, author sessions, book talks, activities, presentations, books giveaways, free cotton candy, hot chocolate, and popcorn, and more.

Along with the new name, South Texas Book Festival has a new logo. The logo features bright colors to represent the book festival’s audience, children and teens, and a star icon to represent the state of Texas.

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