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Idea Store, Watney Market. Photo: Bisset Adams

The Idea Store concept brought together two different services in Tower Hamlets: adult and community education and libraries, functioning as one integrated service. 

Adopting a retail concept not only provided a new look for libraries, but ensured the locations and opening hours matched the needs of users. 

In this blog post Kate reviews developments since the first Idea Store opened, and what lessons have been learned, focusing on three areas: common approaches to different areas, ICT, and the library building as 3rd place. 

'Idea Stores were innovative from the start. The power of the original vision has proved adaptable and allowed us to respond to changing times. We have never taken our customers for granted: we began with the biggest ever library consultation and have been listening to local people ever since. We are proud to be a service that people choose to use.

'This combination of a strong and radical concept and our ability to develop has meant that Idea Stores are still thriving in the 21st century. This is why librarians from around the world still come to east London to learn from our experience.'