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I found an idea

I briefly went in hunt of my local public library last summer, when I first moved here. Neighbors told me that my local branch had closed not six months before I arrived. A superficial trawl through the borough website told me that there were very few libraries in the borough, and none of them were anywhere near me. I looked no further.

But today, for a while, I thought I would need to use another borough's library, and the only way to do that would be to take advantage of the reciprocal arrangements between my borough and the other one. So I needed a library card, which involved, of course, finding a library.

And that's how I finally figured out where all the Tower Hamlets libraries have been hiding all this time. All the new ones, all the ones they're investing in, have all been rebranded as "Idea Stores". Does "Idea Store" say "Library" to you? It doesn't to me.

For any other Tower Hamlets denizens: the Canary Wharf Idea Store will be opening in the basement of the Barclay HQ building next week, on Thursday March 16th.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:24 am (UTC)
Exactly. When I first saw the name on the borough website, I thought "How nice. The borough also runs science/nature shops." without getting as far as wondering why on earth they would do that.

Why is science/nature so commodifiable anyways? Why aren't there more philosophy/history shops? I guess the history shops are usually found in museum shop form.
a_d_medievalist
Mar. 9th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)
So, if it's a store, are you buying ideas? 'cos one of the reasons I like libraries is the relatively *free* part. I get to borrow stuff, and then the ideas come for free. When they come.
owlfish
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC)
Book borrowing is still (thank goodness) free, but they charge for "borrowing" CDs and DVDs. CDs are 80p each and DVDs are UKP 2. If you borrow more than 2 DVDs a month, it would be much cheaper to subscribe to one of the online rental services.
larkvi
Mar. 9th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
I for one am completely against the deconstruction of meaning and nomenclature in libraries. After all, it is a fundamentally structuralist concept, and deconstring it can only lead to bad things.

As for bad names, the Library Science department's rebranding, not only of themselves, as "Information Science" and specifically of their library, as the "Inforum" comes to mind. As if the conept of a library were limited by books...
oursin
Mar. 9th, 2006 08:34 am (UTC)
They also closed at least one extremely historic (People's University of the East End kind of thing) library.
owlfish
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:27 am (UTC)
A pity it didn't fit with their shiny new rainbow-tinted vision of what information warehouses should look like. Any idea what's happened to the collection or the building since?

P.S. "rainbow-tinted" isn't metaphoric. The façade is made up of different color-tinted panes of glass.
owlfish
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you. The Whitechapel "Idea Store" opened on 22 Sept. 2005 in a shiny new rainbow-tinted building. But the old building was so handsome. It's good to know its story.
lazyknight
Mar. 9th, 2006 08:45 am (UTC)
Well, I guess that libraries are places where ideas are stored. But then, that's not the only stuff that's stored there. Perhaps a more accurate name would be "Facts, Ideas and Random Gibberish Store"?
owlfish
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:26 am (UTC)
It's true! Now I don't know where to go for my random gibberish. The local "library" only has ideas. It says so on the façade.
taldragon
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:47 am (UTC)
bah. at least my local library proudly proclaims itself to be a library. 'info store'. what a stupid name.

*mutter*

libraries are the best though :)
owlfish
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC)
There are so many wonderfully good libraries in the world! But I have access to very few circulating collections in this city. It'll be good to check on fiction again.
jennybeast
Mar. 10th, 2006 08:10 am (UTC)
Yark. a new word in celebration of a truly bizarre occurence. I would tell the folks at school, but they'd probably be all for it. Yark. Branding is the devil.
noncalorsedumor
Mar. 13th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
"Idea Store"? "Idea Store"??

It's an idea I find so appallingly commercial, I find it hard to believe that it isn't American.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )