Keenon McCloy ’86 Featured in Smithsonian Magazine

Smithsonian Magazine is celebrating McCloy's innovative work as the director of the Memphis Public Libraries in its November 2021 issue.
Public libraries in Memphis are not places where dusty books sit to collect more dust thanks to the work of Keenon McCloy ’86, director of the Memphis Public Libraries.

Libraries from around the country have visited Memphis to model their own library programs after what McCloy has implemented, which is featured in the full story on the Smithsonian Magazine website. We also spoke with McCloy for our December 2020 magazine about her role in transforming libraries in Memphis.

Innovative programming reaches a large and broad population of the city, and McCloy helped spearhead the creation of Cloud901, a highly popular hub for teens where they are encouraged to explore their creativity through music, graphic design, art, video, and photography. The library system is starting to replicate the program in other branches.

McCloy has created more access in several ways. Cloud 901 is free, whereas most libraries would charge for something like that, she said in 2020. The libraries have also gotten rid of overdue fines and were able to reactivate more than 82,000 accounts that had previously been blocked.

In 2020, the libraries held 744 virtual programs, opened a new branch, and stepped up to help the community by contact tracing, delivering meals, and producing COVID task force updates for the City of Memphis and Shelby County. This work and her leadership led to the Memphis Public Libraries winning the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.
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Hutchison is the leading private girls school in Memphis for ages 2 years old through twelfth grade.