UPDATE: McAllen Library Gains National Attention


I love when my hometown gets national coverage for something positive, especially the awesome new main library, housed in an old Wal-Mart building on 23rd and Nolana.  But of course not all coverage is good coverage, considering the LA Times didn't really do their research and yet again painted McAllen as a dusty border town, with a failed Wal-Mart.  A simple Google search would've shown the Wal-Mart actually moved down the road and transformed into a supercenter and just down the road from that are more stores, restaurants, Target and, well, the list goes on.  The original article has been altered but basically read that the Wal-Mart failed and closed up shop, which was just not true.

A vast building in McAllen, Texas, was once home to a Wal-Mart -- but no longer. When the discount superstore moved to a larger location, it left behind a vast empty building. The community took advantage of the space and converted the warehouse-like building into a public library.

The size of more than two football fields, the McAllen Public Library is the largest single-story library in the country, the website PSFK writes. Its conversion from vast warehouse space to functioning library has recently made it the winner of the 2012 Library Interior Design Competition by the International Interior Design Assn.

Adriana Ramirez, who teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, grew up in McAllen. "The old library on Main Street was not beautiful," she told Jacket Copy. "It was packed with books and seemed too small for the people it serviced. Of course, that was part of the charm -- always waiting your turn for the computer and spending a good amount of time finding a corner where you could read uninterrupted. The new library solves all that."

They went on to correct the story, but as usual, by the time a correction is issued, the damage is done.  Nonetheless, kudos to the McAllen Library for the coverage and national attention.

Thankfully it was in the comments section that the corrections were originally made:

LOL. I love how this article makes it seem like McAllen is some podunk with a Walmart that failed. Actually, they built a Walmart Supercenter many times larger right next door, and McAllen has 2 Walmart supercenters and 9 in the county. Also 2 Sam's Clubs and 3 Best Buys within city limits, not counting the entire metro area.

Looks like TIME has now picked up the story and of course had to mention the "border violence". SIGH. I grew up in McAllen and lived there until about 3 months ago.  There is a lot to do in McAllen, concerts, theatrical performances, Art Walk, the list goes on...and sure parents are concerned for their kids but honestly they paint McAllen as just a Wild Southwest border town...one wrong step and you'll be in a cartel?  Give me a break!

The cool factor for teens is perhaps the most important part of the grand library. McAllen is right on the Mexico border and many residents worry about their youth getting involved in drug violence. “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,” Amanda Ramirez, a McAllen native who now lives in Pittsburgh, told the Los Angeles Times.