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City turns vacant Walmart into mega-library

Posted at 9:18 AM, Nov 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-11 12:26:53-05

When a big-box retail store closes, it may cause a city to have to deal with an eyesore.

One Texas town decided that wouldn't happen, and it made lemonade from a lemon building — an empty Walmart store. A large, modern library opened in the space in 2012.

According to a report from research firm PSFK, a Minneapolis design group handled the creation of McAllen Public Library, which is in 124,500-square feet of space in McAllen, Texas.

"That’s the size of about 2 1/2 football fields, making the new library the largest single-story location in the U.S.,” the PSFK website says.

The library won the International Interior Design Association's 2012 Library Interior Design Competition, according to

The library has separate areas for teens, six computer labs for teens, 16 meeting spaces, 14 study rooms, 64 computer labs for the general public, 10 computer labs for children, an auditorium, art gallery, used bookstore and a café, according to various reports and

The new library spurred a 23 percent spike in new members in the first month it was open, PSFK reported.