10 Wonderful Libraries Repurposed from Unused Structures


Last week, the internet went crazy for an abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas, that was recently converted into the country’s largest single story library, winning its category in the 2012 Library Interior Design Competition in the process. Inspired, we went on the hunt for other libraries that were born from unused and abandoned structures, from the large (drill halls and supermarkets) to the small (phone booths and shipping containers). After all, what better way to recycle just about anything than to turn it into a center for knowledge? Click through to check out a few libraries that rose from the ashes of other structures, and let us know if we’ve missed any from your town in the comments!

The McAllen Public Library, built inside a 124,500 square foot abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas. Photos via.

The Central Library in Cape Town, built inside an old drill hall. Photo via.

Eden Prairie Library in Minnesota, converted from a “big box” supermarket to the gorgeous library it is today. Photos via.

Nassau Public Library in Nassau, Bahamas, once a colonial jail, but converted into a library in 1873. Photos via and via.

Britain’s smallest library, the Westbury Book Exchange, lives in an old telephone booth. Photos via.

And the American version — a free mini library in a disused NYC pay phone booth, created by architect John Locke. Photo via.

Jackson Public Library in Jackson, New Hampshire, converted from a barn built in 1858 for the town’s first inn. Photos via.

BiebBus, a Dutch mobile library for kids built out of an old shipping container. Photos via.

Beautiful Bibliothèque Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Longueuil, Québec. Photos via.

The Biblio Trenes in Chile: disused train cars that have been converted into cool libraries. Photos via.