A 2.5 football field size building, which Wal-Mart abandoned, was reused as New McAllen Public Library.
The library was designed by architecture company Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle (MS&R). It hasconverted the warehouse-like building to the largest single-story library in the United States, and the winner of the 2012 Library Interior Design Competition.
The new public library opened in December 2011. New user registration increased by 23% after ithad been opened for a month.
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Adriana Ramirez, a teacher at the University of Pittsburgh, grew up in McAllen. Ramirezwrites, "In a city like McAllen, with cartel violence across the river (less than 10 miles away fromthe library), I think it's amazing that the city is devoting resources to a) not only saving a large andconspicuous piece of property from decline and vandalism, but b) diverting those resources intoyouth and the public trust. "
"It's easy to fall into drugs, drinking, and violence when you live on the border. It's not reallyeasy to find a place to hang out when you're 14 that's not the mall, the movies, or Mexico. And agiant library -- a cool-looking open space devoted to entertaining the imagination? Well, I thinkthat's the best counter-move against violence imaginable. And you don't even have to wait for acomputer now", she writes.