Idea Stores have re-invented the library,
returning them to the heart of the community.
Libraries throughout the world are struggling
to make themselves relevant to today’s society - where books and
information can be accessed on the move and computer games are fast
becoming the preferred pastime of children and young people.
Hamlets in London was one of the first local authorities to take
action, closing its libraries and replacing them with seven
'Idea Stores', community hubs that put a library, cafe, adult
education classes and computer access under one roof.
Idea Stores have managed to return libraries
to the heart of the community. Bucking national trends, Tower
Hamlets revolutionary library service, which was developed in
consultation with residents back in 2000, has seen visitor numbers
nearly quadrupled and lending numbers break records.
After a massive borough-wide consultation,
residents in their thousands told the council that they wanted
bright new buildings in local shopping areas combining lifelong
learning and cultural attractions with all the services normally
associated with libraries. Coupled with retail principles this £30
million investment to create the first five Idea Stores has paid
Groundbreaking Idea Stores are inspiring the
future development of libraries across the world. The Netherlands,
Denmark, Sweden and most recently the United States, South Korea,
and Germany have all looked to Tower Hamlets’ retail-inspired model
as an example of the best way forward. And the good news is
continuing – the latest addition to the Idea Store family, Idea
Store Watney Market, will open in Spring 2013.
- The Idea Stores which are sited in Bow, Whitechapel, Chrisp
Steet and Canary Wharf provide the largest number of free access to
the internet and computers in the East End, adult education
classes, library services, events and a café all under one
- Idea Store Whitechapel is the busiest inner London local
authority library with more than 700,000 visits recorded last year
- The Idea Store story continues to evolve with Idea Store Watney
Market currently being built in Commercial Road. The landmark
building will replace the existing library based at Watney Market
and include an integrated One Stop Shop where residents can access
council services, as well as space for adult and family learning.
The £4.5 million Idea Store has received a £2million funding from
the Big Lottery Fund and is scheduled to be ready by Spring
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: “The Idea Stores
have been a phenomenal success and I look forward to another 10
years of fantastic achievements.
Whilst other councils are having to reduce
vital services, we in Tower Hamlets are working hard to safeguard
them. Idea Store Watney Market will enable more residents to access
services and information all under one roof".