New Main Library

page last updated June 17, 2013

After 60 years in the downtown McAllen location at 601 N. Main St., the Old Main Library closed its doors on November 23, 2011. Ready for a new home, new look, and new direction, McAllen Public Library relocated to its current location at 4001 N. 23rd St. on December 10, 2011. 

Now an award-winning public library, the new McAllen Public Library is 123,000 square feet and may very well be the largest single floor public library in the nation. The next largest is the Johnson County Central Resource Library in Overland Park, Kansas, at 90,547 square feet.

On this page you'll find facts, photos, and videos detailing the new library's development leading up to its grand opening in December 2011.

Past vs. Present 

Consider this by-the-numbers comparison of the old and present Main Library:

Old Main
Present Main
Opened: 1950
Size: 40,000 square feet
Collection Count: 330,394 items
Floors: 3
Public Meeting Rooms: 2
Public Study Rooms: 3
Public Computer Lab: 29

Special Features:
ground floor atrium, patio, used book store


Opened: December 10, 2011
Size: 123,000 square feet  
Collection Count: 355,794 items
Floors: 1
Public Meeting Spaces: 16
Public Study Rooms: 14
Public Computer Lab: 116
Children's Computer Lab: 10
Teen's Computer Lab: 6
Genealogy Computer Lab: 2

Special Interior Features:
teen area, cafe, auditorium, quiet reading room, self-check out units, art gallery, electronic classrooms, meeting rooms with audiovisual services, expanded children's area, used book store, automated materials handling system, themed wood ceiling and other special interior design features

Special Exterior Features:
extensive landscaping, Dewey Learning Trail, front mall area with one water feature, entrance canopy, drive-up book drop, exterior children's area, over 350 parking spaces


Produced by Roda Grubb,          Produced by the City of McAllen.
Published November 7, 2011.                                                      Published October 19, 2011.

Produced by Roda Grubb,         Produced by Roda Grubb,
Published October 18, 2011.                                                       Published September 9, 2011.

Produced by the City of McAllen                                        Produced by Roda Grubb,
Published August 1, 2011.                                                            Published July 5, 2011.

Produced by the McAllen Cable Network and
Explore McAllen. Published May 27, 2011:



Please note: the image slideshow below requires the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. If the slideshow does not load, visit the library's gallery on SmugMug, the photo-sharing site where these images are stored.

New Main Opens December 10, 2011                  Old Main Closes November 23, 2011




Source: Various

» Repurposing Retail | Library by Design (6.17.13)

» Big Boxes, Bigger Problems (4.29.13)

» Re-Tailoring Retail (March/April 2013)

» McAllen Main Library / Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle (March 2013)

» The American Institute of Architects (2013)

» 7 Abandoned Structures Re-purposed into Something Awesome (2013)

» McAllen Public Library Part 2: People and Programs (1.13.13)

» McAllen Public Library Part 1: Building a Community (1.10.13)

» From Big Box to Big Books (11.19.12)

» McAllen Library Looks Forward to one-year Anniversary (11.4.12)

» 50 Reasons We're Thankful to be Southern (11.1.12)

» The Best of Interior Design: Public and Academic Library Winners (10.2.12)

» Rayons Bein Garnis (9.15.2012)

» Big-Box Store Has New Life as an Airy Public Library (9.2.12)

» Former Wal-Mart Becomes Largest Single-Floor Library in the United States (8.22.12)

» The New McAllen Public Library: Brilliant! (7.17.12)

» How an Empty Wal-Mart was Transformed into a Library (7.11.12)

» Abandoned Texas Wal-Mart Becomes Public Library (7.11.12)

» A Town Converted an Abandoned Wal-Mart into One Gigantic Public Library (7.8.12)

» New McAllen Public Library on Abandoned Wal-Mart (7.6.12)

» Texas Wal-Mart Made into Public Library Nets Award (7.5.12)

» Where Wal-Mart Departs, a Library Succeeds (7.3.12)

» This Abandoned Wal-Mart Has Been Reclaimed as a Public Library (7.2.12)

» IIDA News Release - Winners of the 2012 Library Interiors Competition (4.25.12)

» McAllen's new library brings patrons back to the stacks (1.15.12)

» Chapter Closes on Library (11.23.11)

» Reaching the Next Chapter (11.1.11)

» Coming Together (6.2.11)

» In Demand (4.8.10)

» Planning Process (9.17.09)

» Turning the Page (10.25.08)

» New Chapter - A $14.2 Million Dollar Challenge (11.7.07)

» McAllen Library Looks Forward to One-Year Anniversary (11.4.12)

» The Next Chapter: McAllen plans to open new library Dec. 10 (11.1.11)

» Planning Progresses (9.17.09) 

» McAllen chooses location for new library (6.30.06)

» New McAllen library director starts job today (6.19.06)

Source: Various


» Construcción de la biblioteca, va viento en popa (El Manana 5.4.11)

» Construction set to begin on new McAllen library [VIDEO] (Valley Town Crier 6.17.10)