The Depression Years (1927-1946)
Womens Club Steps In
The quest for a library began again in 1927 lead by City Federation of Women’s Clubs President Mrs. Roy Largent. Starting with book showers, where the citizens of McKinney gave books, the City Federation collected materials to open a library. In May 1927, Mrs. J. L. Lovejoy, a former president of the City Federation, donated a large room above Duke and Ayers on the east side of the Square to house the library. George Neel painted and did general repairs to prepare the room, which was ready to open by September 1927. During this time, there was no official librarian as members of the City Federation took turns operating the library.
After the new courthouse was opened in 1928, on May 14th, the library opened at its new location on the third floor. Miss Geneva Horn was appointed librarian by the City Federation of Woman's Clubs to maintain the nearly 2000 volumes. Membership was $1 per year allowing cardholders to check out one to three books for one week. Overdue materials were charged $0.05 per day until returned.
Moving to the Couthouse
In 1929, the late John E. Wilson donated his personal books to the library. This collection included over 400 books. Wilson believed in the mission of the library and wanted his books to be used by the community. This, along with other donations, caused the library to need a bigger space. The county agreed to move the library to the southeast corner of the basement, which was larger and more accessible to the public.
At the resignation of Geneva Horn, Faye Wilcox was appointed in 1931. Wilcox was born in McKinney in 1899 to Mr. And Mrs. Joe H. Wilcox. She graduated from Boyd High School and went to college in Roanoke, Virginia along with working on a higher education degree at the West Texas Teachers’ College in Canyon, Texas. She taught in Colorado City and Blue Ridge before becoming librarian. While librarian, Wilcox was responsible for the growth of the library’s collections and memberships.
Leasing from Isaac Crouch
By 1935, the library needed to be refreshed. With Mrs. Don Davis leading the charge, the City Federation hosted many book showers and fundraisers. With the success of Mrs. Davis’s efforts, the library moved into a bigger space in 1938. Isaac Crouch leased the library a portion of the lower floor of the Crouch Building for $15 per month.
Property Inherated and Sold
During this time, Mary E. Boyd willed her home and land to the library upon her death in 1937. Boyd was known for philanthropic endeavors around McKinney. The original and current Boyd High School is named after Mary Boyd. She gave $3,000 to the school for supplies, and in return, the school board named the school after her in the late 1910s. A library board had to be created to accept such a generous gift. The first library board consisted of Miss Bess Heard as chairman along with Mrs. J.P. Harding, Mrs. H. A. Finch Sr., Wilkins Comegys, and Attorney John D. Reese. Originally the house was rented out with proceeds going to maintaining the library. However, by 1939, it was determined that the house was not suitable for the library and was sold for $2,700.
Preparing for the Unexpected
In August 1938, Faye Wilcox suffered a heart attack and died unexpectantly. The community was devastated to lose their beloved librarian. Mrs. George Patton was appointed in October 1938. Mrs. Patton resigned in 1939 to move to Dallas, and Mrs. Clyde Doyle was appointed.
In 1938, the En Evant Club had a goal to create a dedicated children’s area. It took them a year to meet this goal. Bookshelves were lowered and arranged for children's use and interests, and smaller, lower furniture was purchased through funds raised.
During this time it was decided that insurance was needed incase of fire. A $1,000 incurance policy was written to protect the value of the colletion.
The next several years were spent continuously serving the citizens of McKinney and adding to the collection. By 1947, the Federation had found the ideal spot for a permanent location, the Fitzgerald's House.