McALLEN – A number of individuals have asked Futuro McAllen about the donation of $100,000 from McAllen Library donated book revenues to UTPA by the Friends of the Library. From various sources the following information has been learned.
The Friends of the Library (FOL) is a non-profit group who raised funds for the McAllen Library primarily from the sale of books donated to the McAllen Library. This service group was provided operating space, office services and staff from time to time to assist in the sale of books donated to the library. In turn the group's work on selling the library's donated books provided funds for library projects such as the Summer Reading Program, scholarships for library staff pursuing library science degrees and various library needs. Traditionally, the Friends of the Library selected the library projects on which to spend the funds in consultation with the McAllen Library Director. In 2008, the Friends of the Library voted to fund public art for the Dewey Decimal Trail at the new library.
Apparently the FOL group had a disagreement with the Library Director concerning the disposition of some of the library's donated books and their use of library office equipment. Their ByLaws were rewritten at about that time without consultation with library personnel or Board regarding money from the sale of the donated books. The revised FOL ByLaws stated "The purpose of this organization shall be to encourage interest in and support for the McAllen Memorial Library and support literacy in the community." The revised FOL ByLaws further claimed all receipts from the sale of donated books as their own FOL assets rather than belonging to the McAllen Library to which the books were donated.
This money (from the sale of the library's donated books) was then denied or cut for the Library's Summer Reading Program and the $25,000 for public art work in the Dewey Decimal Trail at the new library was left unfunded. ".Literacy in the community" was redefined by the FOL with non-library and non-McAllen grants- $3000 to MISD for band instruments, $3000 for high school senior scholarships, and $100,000 to UTPA in Edinburg for scholarships.
The City of McAllen objected to the use of funds derived from the library's donated books for non-library purposes and the Friends of the Library was told to leave the McAllen Library.
Many McAllen citizens have questioned the use of library income derived from the sale of these donated books by the Friends of the Library, but the check has been given to UTPA and probably is not retrievable without expensive legal action- if at all. The Dewey Decimal Trail public art presumably will not be funded as promised since apparently FOL does not have sufficient funds left for their 2008 commitment after giving away $106.000.
Donated books can no longer be made available for resale as no staff is available for that purpose.
The Friends of the Library organization has been totally severed from any relationship with the McAllen Public Library as a result of the money from the sale of the books donated to the library being given to non-library organizations for non-library uses by the FOL group.