• 07.05.12

What To Do With Old Walmarts? Turn Them Into Libraries

Check out these pictures from McAllen, Texas, where–instead of letting it sit idle–they’ve used the massive space of an abandoned superstore as a beautiful home for books.

Regardless of whether or not you appreciate what Walmart stores have done to America’s consumption habits, it’s hard to dispute that the chain takes up a whole lot of space. For the uninitiated, it’s easy to get turned around in one of the big box stores. But imagine if all that space could be used for something else–if those aisles could be stripped of their plastic products from China and replaced with books. That’s what’s happening at an abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas, where a library is taking over the structure and turning it into book heaven.


PSFK points us to the library, which recently won the 2012 Library Interior Design Award. Designed by Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (the interior) and Boultinghouse Simpson Architects (the exterior), the library is located inside a 124,500 square foot former Walmart store–making it the largest single-story library in the U.S.

The space includes a computer lab, study rooms, study areas for children, teens, and adults, a cafe, an auditorium, a genealogy research area, and more. Library goers apparently love the new design–registration has increased 23% since the revamp earlier this year.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.