Financing the Future (1947-1965)


Check for Fitzgerald house

The Fitzgarald House

After 10 years in the Crouch Building, the Federation was given notice that they would need to vacate the rented location. In 1947, the Library Board, chaired by Bessie Heard, voted to purchase the former Fitzgerald residence at 402 W. Louisiana for $12,500Approximately $392,000 in 2023 dollars from W. L. Fitzgerald and Sarah Newman. The group planned on using the money from the sale of the house Mary Boyd had given the library, however, the rest of the funds would need to be raised. Bessie Heard went to all the groups in McKinney asking for support and explaining the benefits of having a library. Hal Dyer and committee would go door to door asking for donations. Every day the donors and donation amounts were published in the McKinney newspapers. It took just twelve days to raise almost $15,000.  

It was during this time that the name of the library changed to the Memorial Public Library. It is dedicated to the fallen soldiers from McKinney and Collin County in all the wars. The dedication was presented by Mayer R. F. Newsome on Veteran’s Day in 1948 with many families in attendance. Also, a bronze plaque was revealed during the dedication by Hal Dyer. 



Library Budget 1950-1951

Expanding services

By 1951, the library was experiencing financial issues again. A report prepared in 1951 shows that to continue with the current level of funding the library would be short $45 for the following year. There was not enough money to keep the heater on in the winter except a space heater in the main room. The entire electric bill averaged $1.73 per month to make sure they could afford to pay it.  

City Federation President Mrs. H. A. Finch, Jr rallied the community to seek assistance from the City of McKinney.  Mrs. Finch explained to the Mayor and City Commission that surrounding libraries’ budgets ranged from $6,000 to $10,000 per year. In addition to preventing the projected deficiency, the money would increase wages for the current librarian, Miss Annie Belle Kerr, and hire an assistant. The City Commission agreed to allocate five cents of taxes per hundred dollar valuation to assist with funding the library beginning in 1952 and increase the librarian’s salary from $50 to $75. 

The local chapters of Disabled American Veterans, American League, and Veterans of Foreign Wars supported the library through 1951 until receiving funds from the City of McKinney. Since the library was dedicated to fallen soldiers, the veterans groups felt it was their responsibility to raise money. They held a gala in the American Legion Hall with music provided by Jimmie Foster’s orchestra. Refreshments were sold by H. L. Shoap and Fred McKinney of Nehi Co, a bottling company. Proceeds from the refreshments, ticket sales, and special donations were given at the end of the night to Mrs. Finch totaling $600.

With the funds from the City of McKinney, the library board amended their bylaws to remove membership fees to use the library for residents of McKinney and, as a courtesy, the residents of Collin County. 

Future challenges

In 1964, the City of McKinney announced the Council’s Capital Improvement Plan, which included a new library, unbeknownst to the Library Board and members of the City Federation. This set in motion the change for who was responsible for the library.