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Discarded by Walmart, a Box Store Becomes a Thriving Library

Residents of McAllen, TX eager to use free internet or check out a novel can do so in an unusual

While corporations have enjoyed record profits during the economic downturn, municipalities have struggled to keep basic services like school systems running. With big cities from Detroit to Denver making significant cuts in service, libraries have been particularly beleaguered. But those trends are what make the recent opening of the New Main Library in McAllen, Texas so remarkable, and not just because it's well designed. Since December, residents of this South Texas border town eager to use free internet, check out a novel, or even relax over a cup of coffee can do so in an unusual location: a former Walmart, renovated to become the country's largest single-story library.

According to local news reports, the city purchased the abandoned store from the corporation for $5 million and spent nearly $26 million dollars total on the project, with renovations led by the Minneapolis-based firm MS&R Architecture. While a 2 1/2 football-field sized property has great potential (think of all the books!), the massiveness posed the "primary challenge" to the design team which relied heavily on color to help users understand the floor-plan and navigate the building. Features include conference rooms, a coffee shop, a copy center, an acoustically-shielded space for chatty teenagers, and a 64-terminal computer lab: not bad for a small city with a population less than 150,000 people.

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How Wal-Mart Could Easily Pull Thousands of Its Employees Out of Poverty

With some minor financial shifts, the nation's biggest employer could drastically change the lives of its most valuable asset: its workers.


Last year, despite raking in more than $16 billion in profit, Wal-Mart still had employees who lived below the poverty line. The big-box giant currently employs about 1.5 million Americans, more than any other company in America, and yet it pays much of its workforce peanuts. Two-thirds of Wal-Mart staffers make less than $12 an hour, while one-fifth makes less than $9 an hour. On average, Wal-Mart employees make about 12 percent less than other retail workers.

Most frustrating about Wal-Mart's paltry wages is that it doesn't have to be that way, according to a new study from the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. With a couple simple adjustments, Wal-Mart could be paying its workers not just a living wage, but a good wage, and pulling families out of poverty along the way.

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Wal-Mart's Eco-Friendly, Anti-Aging Make-Up for Eight-Year-Olds Wal-Mart GeoGirl Eco-Friendly Make-Up Line Targets Tweens

GeoGirl is a text message-themed make-up line for tweens. It's eco-friendly, anti-aging and patently unnecessary.

Wal-Mart is targeting the tween market with a new eco-friendly cosmetics line, GeoGirl, according to WWD. The all natural intro-to-make-up line is all about building habits: both healthy and unsettling.

Wal-Mart touts the eco-element to WWD, “GeoGirl is about teaching this generation about beauty care in a responsible way. This [line] is a great learning experience for us to determine how to communicate with this generation.”

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