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The library that Walmart built

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What’s a town to do when the local big box store closes up shop and moves onto greener pastures? Make it into the largest single-level library in the country, that’s what.

Although moving meant taking a community meeting place out of the center of McAllen, Texas, library membership has jumped 23% since the relocation last December and the redesign brought the attention of the International Interior Design Association who awarded it the prize for the 2012 Library Interior Design Competition. According to former resident Adriana Ramirez, the old location had charm but lacked the space to provide adequate computer facilities or places to just sit back with a book.

There’s also another huge advantage of providing such a large library according to McAllen:

“In a city like McAllen, with cartel violence across the river (less than 10 miles away from the library), I think it’s amazing that the city is devoting resources to a) not only saving a large and conspicuous piece of property from decline and vandalism, but b) diverting those resources into youth and the public trust,” Ramirez writes. “It’s easy to fall into drugs, drinking, and violence when you live on the border. It’s not really easy to find a place to hang out when you’re 14 that’s not the mall, the movies, or Mexico. And a giant library — a cool-looking open space devoted to entertaining the imagination? Well, I think that’s the best counter-move against violence imaginable.

Full story at LA Times via Boing Boing.

Really big libraries.

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