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The Walmart Library


Photo: McAllen Public Library

What to do with 124,500 square foot of an abandoned Walmart? The city of McAllen, Texas, has a refreshing answer: put a library in it!

The size of more than two football fields, the McAllen Public Library is the largest single-story library in the country, the website PSFK writes. Its conversion from vast warehouse space to functioning library has recently made it the winner of the 2012 Library Interior Design Competition by the International Interior Design Assn.

Adriana Ramirez, who teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, grew up in McAllen. "The old library on Main Street was not beautiful," she told Jacket Copy. "It was packed with books and seemed too small for the people it serviced. Of course, that was part of the charm -- always waiting your turn for the computer and spending a good amount of time finding a corner where you could read uninterrupted. The new library solves all that."

Carolyn Kellog of the Los Angeles Time's Jacket Copy blog has more: Link | More photos at McAllen Public Library's gallery and PSFK - via Holy Kaw and Boing Boing 

One of our local libraries is made from an old grocery store. (http://www.btr-architects.com/Edenprairielibrary.htm) In looking for pictures I found out that the original town library was in a Quonset hut, which gives me new appreciation for the roof of the current one.

As for that even bigger Walmart, I've seen several converted to schools lately.
http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2089115,00.html
http://www.bigboxreuse.com/sugarcreek.html

I've seen ones where they were even able to fit two stories of classrooms inside. Or where they have only used half the building and the other half was used as a giant indoor playground/gym.
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I live about five minutes away from this library and I can tell you that everyone in our community is very proud of it.

Our new library is filled with bright and beautiful spaces for reading and studying, as well as modern meeting rooms that can be reserved for business presentations. The children's area is immense and easy to use. You'll find a small cafe and a used book store in the main lobby. Free WiFi is available throughout the building.

If you love to read, or you just enjoy good architecture and design, I highly recommend a visit.
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When our local Walmart built a bigger building, the old one sat for years because the company would not sell it to a retailer that might be a competitor -and it was too big for anything else. It was eventually purchased by a non-profit sheltered workshop, which worked out just fine.

But just recently, my town became completely wet, and the Walmart superstore is outside the city limits. And in a dry county. They are losing a lot of business to stores in town that now sell beer. I hear they are planning to move again, which will leave a much larger empty building.
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I agree with J, and while they are at it, turn the McDonald's that are usually in them into a coffee/tea shop. I would never have to leave.
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That is too cool! I heard that our local library was trying to buy an old Borders, but we have an old Target that would be full of win...
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