/>
X
Innovation

Walmart store turned into largest library in the United States

The short lifespan of big-box stores has left ghost lots scattered across America. Will libraries be the next big takeover venture?
Written by Sonya James, Contributor on
wal-main-isle.jpg
The McAllen Public Library main aisle (photograph by Lara Swimmer)

When it comes to libraries, it turns out size does in fact matter.

The McAllen Public Library just won the the International Interior Design Association's 2012 Library Interior Design Competition, and it spans the size of 2.5 football fields.

The debate over what to do with the not-so-sightly, cavernous, unadorned boxes left scattered across America by corporations like Walmart has been raging on for the past decade.

Julia Christensen spent six years documenting creative uses for the abandoned buildings in Big Box Reuse. While she noted how 10 communities turned vacant big-box stores into schools, a courthouse, church, museum and other civic organizations, the looming empty boxes are not always given a second chance.

The interior of the McAllen Public Library in McAllen, Texas - now the largest single-story library in the United States - was redesigned by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. of Minneapolis.

wal-before.jpg
The McAllen Public Library before the renovation (photograph by Lara Swimmer)

The walls and existing ceiling were cleared and a laser-cut wood entryway grandly welcomes confused would-be shoppers and library goers alike.

There is an auditorium, computer labs, classrooms, meeting rooms, and adult and teen reading lounges - which are conveniently acoustically separated.

wal-new.jpg
The McAllen Public Library service spine (photograph by Lara Swimmer)

Most importantly, within the first month of opening public library registration went up by 23%.

To quote Wayne's World - quoting Field of Dreams - "If you build it, they will come."

Images: Lara Swimmer; PSFK

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards

Related

These are my 5 must-have devices for work travel now
ipad-mini-firewalla-purple-macbook-air

These are my 5 must-have devices for work travel now

Southwest, United, and American Airlines have a new enemy -- the internet's ugliest site
Airplane wing in flight

Southwest, United, and American Airlines have a new enemy -- the internet's ugliest site

Twitter turns its back on open-source development
elon-musk-twitter

Twitter turns its back on open-source development