by: David Polinchock

You know, I wish I could remember where I first read about this, but what a cool idea. Totally changing the idea of what a library is and does. I love the idea of the library as an "idea store" too. Not a repository of information that is sometimes hard to navigate, but a place for you to get ideas.

Read more about their big idea by clicking on the link below.

What's the big idea? Idea Stores combine the best of traditional library and information services with first class lifelong learning opportunities in comfortable and friendly surroundings.

  • Library - a wide range of stock including best-selling books, CDs and DVDs
  • Learning - day, evening and weekend courses for a range of interests and abilities
  • Information - access to extensive reference and information sources including online resources and a local studies and archives collection.

    Our objectives are to bring the community together and to empower individuals to help themselves, whether it is learning to read, pursuing hobbies, expanding their knowledge or seeking a job.

    An Idea Store is an ideal place to browse and borrow books, read a newspaper or magazine, learn new skills, surf the net or to relax and meet friends over a coffee in a fun and stimulating environment.

    The Idea
    Through the new Idea Stores, Tower Hamlets Council will be investing millions of pounds to create a network of adult education, library and information services, in 7 state-of-the-art buildings, all in local shopping centres.

    These buildings are more than just a library or a place of learning. As well as the traditional library service, much valued by residents, they offer a wide range of adult education classes, along with career support, training, a creche, meeting areas, cafes and arts and leisure pursuits.

  • Link: Idea Store - Created and Managed by Tower Hamlets Council - Home.

    The plan is to create a series of bright, new buildings in local shopping areas, combining lifelong learning and cultural attractions with all the services normally associated with libraries, from classic books to DVDs and CDs.

    Seven of these groundbreaking Idea Stores are planned over the next five years. Each has a distinctive look designed to become synonymous with quality, good service and fun!

    The idea was born when residents told Tower Hamlets Council in their thousands that they would like to see their libraries located where they can get to them more easily and do more than borrow items while they're there.

    Now, using a revolutionary approach developed through a partnership between Tower Hamlets and Tower Hamlets College, the new buildings will help to boost educational, training and job opportunities in Tower Hamlets enabling local people to do well in an increasingly competitive job market and generally raising local living standards.

    Imagine a place where you can get into a good book, listen to a CD in comfortable, friendly surroundings or study quietly knowing that the knowledge you need is just a fingertip away.

    Imagine a place where skills and training advice is freely available and courses are offered in the same building. A place where you can learn informally at your own pace, mixing with other people learning all sorts of new skills. A place that will allow you to move on, in the same friendly and familiar surroundings, to more formal forms of learning if you choose. A place geared to help you get the most out of life.

    Imagine a place where you can take your whole family to use a wide range of services and enjoy a safe environment. A place where parents and children can learn together with other families in fun and stimulating surroundings. Imagine a place where you can relax in a quality cafe, take in an art exhibition or music performance.

    Imagine a quiet place where you can do your school homework, a place that is fun and exciting, a place where you can meet your friends, have lots of fun.

    Imagine all this under one roof – that's an Idea Store. Now you really don't have to imagine any more – it's a great idea that's become a reality at Bow and Chrisp Street, with more Stores coming soon to shopping centres around the borough.

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