The above link features an interesting story on what happens when something that is deemed ugly and useless, is transformed into a beautiful beacon of information and creativity. An abandoned Walmart, which can be quite a monstrous gap of space, has been turned into a library. The 124,500 square foot building in McAllen, Texas is now the largest, single-floor public library in the United States.
We’ve all driven by abandoned buildings, and most of the time, if not all, they bring up horrible images of misuse and community troubles. The example made by these Texans is definitely an example worth following. They took a forgotten symbol of capitalism and economical growth, and turned it into an institution of knowledge for the public.
The library boasts: acoustically separated lounge for teens as well as 6 teen computer labs, 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children’s computer labs and 2 genealogy computer labs. Other new features include self check-out units, an auditorium, an art gallery, a used bookstore and a café.
The variety of services and resources this massive library offers is paying off in terms of patronage. The library saw a 23% increase in their new user registration, which is HUGE for a public library.
As a librarian, I have to wonder if this is the future of seeking library locations. How would this work in terms of funding? Would this create a huge gap between the have and the have-nots? What’s your opinion on this growing trend in libraries?