Smith presented updates about the library’s programs and newest additions during fiscal year 2022 to McKinney City Council members at a March 7 meeting.
During fiscal year 2022, the McKinney library system added 1,620 new members and averaged over 600 unique borrowers every day. The libraries lended out over 1.6 million items during this time, which equates to $6.6 million in value, Smith said.
“If all that keeps up, we’re going to [have] the busiest year we’ve ever had, which is a great place to be because we don’t want to be bored,” Smith said.
The libraries also saw an increase in volunteer hours with over 4,000 hours volunteered by a majority of teenage volunteers, Smith said. This saved about $65,000 worth of staff time.
The libraries hosted 1,359 programs and events in the past fiscal year, which included over 100 partnerships to host those events and attracted over 32,000 total program attendees, Smith said.
“It’s not just a library; it’s a huge community space beyond just books,” McKinney Mayor George Fuller said of the library’s program offerings.
These programs include cultural events such as Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, multilingual story times, a popular Diwali event that garnered over 950 attendees and more. Offering a variety of cultural programs is part of the council’s goals, Smith said.
“We’re really hitting the high notes on those [programs] and trying to make sure that it’s incorporated in everything we do,” Smith said. “We always tell people if we miss something, if there’s a holiday or celebration or culture we don’t see us celebrating, ... let us know, and we’ll get it incorporated.”
The libraries also offer educational programming, including clubs and programs for music theory, coding, chess and more. These programs are in addition to the regular story times and book clubs hosted at McKinney libraries, Smith said.
The library system continued to advance its offering and technology in the past fiscal year, including the implementation of new maker kits. These kits are available for three-week checkout periods and include 3D printers. Laser engravers and miniature computer numerical control machines will be available soon, Smith said.
“We’re pulling [that] together so that people cannot just come in and drop off a file but actually learn how to use the software and the hardware to educate themselves on what it is,” Smith said of the maker kits.
The libraries also now offer online streaming services with content for all ages that can be accessed remotely, along with online educational courses. Between offerings from LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, there are over 30,000 courses to pick from, which any library cardholder can access online.
“We’ve added them this year, and they’re already getting thousands and thousands of views just from members of the public,” Smith said of the online learning courses.
The two recently added robots at John and Judy Gay Library have also continued advancing their capabilities, Smith said. Library staff is working on utilizing the robot’s voice recognition abilities to act as a guide that takes library guests to requested books and sections.
The robots have yet to be named, but public input will be accepted through upcoming social media posts, Smith said.
McKinney has two libraries, including Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library, located at 101 E. Hunt St. in east McKinney, as well as John and Judy Gay Library, located at 6861 W. Eldorado Parkway in west McKinney.
For more information on McKinney's library locations and programs, visit www.mckinneytexas.org/116/Library.