Bookworms burrow through 10th birthday cake at Poplar Ideas Store

Celebrating Poplar Ideas Store's 10th anniversary

Celebrating Poplar Ideas Store's 10th anniversary - Credit: TH Council

More than 2,000 people joined staff for the 10th anniversary celebrations of Poplar’s Idea Store in London’s East End.

The celebration on Saturday included arts and crafts, quizzes, face painting, book groups and screening a local history film—rounded off with a huge birthday cake.

The Idea Store is at the heart of the community, in Chrisp Street Market, off East India Dock Road, which has built up a large following over the past decade with 460,000 visitors a year.

It is one of five run by Tower Hamlets council that offer more than a library—providing community services such as health and jobs advice under one roof, as well as a place to study with Wi-Fi facilities and laptop tables with mains sockets.

The Poplar centre also has a children’s homework club, story-telling sessions, evening classes and talks.

The East End’s first Idea Store opened in Bow’s Roman Road Market in 2003, followed by a second in Whitechapel.

The groundbreaking Idea Stores are inspiring the future development of libraries across the world, the local authority claims. The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and most recently Germany, the US and as far as South Korea have all looked to the Tower Hamlets’ model as an example.

The Whitechapel Idea Store is now London’s busiest library centre, with 700,000 visits a year. Others in the East End average 900 a day.

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