The Monitor – Dave Hendricks
Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 5:52 pm | Updated: 7:25 pm, Sun Nov 4, 2012.
McALLEN — McAllen’s new library will celebrate its first anniversary on Dec. 10, marking one year since the former Wal-Mart building opened to the public.
Students and bookworms pack the building every weekend, which prompted McAllen to seek additional library workers. And after winning an award from the International Interior Design Association, the building’s transformation from big box to mega-library went viral.
Publications from the Los Angeles Times to Texas Monthly took note. Rio Grande Valley residents did, too.
From January through September, 495,000 people visited the new library, according to city records, which show foot traffic jumped nearly 79 percent year-over-year. The McAllen Memorial Library on Main Street, which closed last November, drew 277,000 visitors during the same period.
“At the same time, the people who were our new faces are now our regulars,” Library Director Kate Horan said.
The new library draws high school students, who connect to the library’s free wireless Internet with their school-issued iPads. About 170 teens participated in the library’s summer reading program, more than double the number who participated last year.
AARP’s popular tax help program also draws a crowd, and computer classes taught by library staff remain popular, Horan said.
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— Dave Hendricks covers McAllen and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at email@example.com and (956) 683-4452.
–Photo by Gabe Hernandezfirstname.lastname@example.org