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The Afterlife of Retail is the Library

Yes, instead of thinking about the death of libraries these days (and the universalization of retail), in McAllen, TX, a library replaced Wal-Mart. It turns out it is extremely beautiful.

While this might be a pretty sensational example of how libraries aren’t dying off, I think it is an important reminder of the evolutionary nature both of urban space and reading places more generally. As I discuss in my book on the history and future of the place of reading, there are a great number of new creative experiments both with municipal libraries but also bookstores or semi-permanent reading places. Here is a recent example from the NY Times: “Over the last few years the city has entered a kind of golden age of art-book establishments that transcend the bounds of the bookstore…” Read more.