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.