Director’s Brief: Ideas from London’s Idea Stores

For my Director’s Brief, I wanted to prepare something that would fulfill Comp O, but also fold together the themes I have been working with this semester, including community engagement and localized in-the-community outreach. I used London’s Idea Stores as inspiration for the post-pandemic branding and outreach of a fictional public library in Pleasant Hill, CA and called it Operation Pivot, a nod to the word of 2020. My objective states that: “Blueberry Public Library will model its post-pandemic rebranding and outreach on London’s Idea Stores concept, taking the most valued features of the Idea Stores, and putting them into place in our library where possible. Our post-pandemic mobile outreach pop-up services will be modeled after the Idea Store ‘Local’ concept.”

See the full report here:

Below is the Executive Summary infographic.

11 responses to “Director’s Brief: Ideas from London’s Idea Stores”

  1. Hello,
    Your brief is an intriguing read; when I saw that inspiration was pulled from retail, I honestly got a bit worried. Certain retail models really get under my skin and the thought of some of those, you know, more predatory practices in our libraries is worrisome, but it didn’t turn into that at all. The Idea Store concept feels trendy, but also carries the heart of the library and opens up interactions to far more than the stereotypical library experience. Thank you for the brief!

    1. Hi @madisonmalear,
      Thank you so much for tuning in. I appreciate your candor and your feedback. I am glad the Idea Stores won you over! They seem pretty amazing when you look at what they have done for the residents of Tower Hamlets. The Council even put together a Community Cohesion Plan for 2020-2025 that I think was inspired by the borough’s success with the Idea Stores. Libraries are the social infrastructure every community really does need! Or I could say it this way: libraries are the glue!! Or whatever other kind of adhesive, duct tape? velcro?—LOL!
      All the best,

  2. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for teaching me about the Idea Store! I love when feedback is thoughtfully collected then changes are actually implemented (doesn’t happen as often as it should).

    I also love your throwback to your Listening Lobby plan and the Blueberry Branch pop-up idea! Let me say again that I wish this library were real.


    1. Hi Angie,
      Your feedback is so kind and supportive and it landed really sweetly in my heart. Just what I needed after an exhausting semester. The Idea Stores have done amazing things for the Tower Hamlets community, in a dramatic way. It’s the library system that keeps on giving.

      I am glad you got my throwbacks. I wish Blueberry Library was real, too. You should have seen all the good things it did in my INFO 254 class (Info Literacy Instruction). LOL. Can individuals start their own libraries, like a small business, without being Andrew Carnegie? That would be an interesting topic to research.

      Thanks for tuning in,

      1. Oh, this is an interesting idea! Certainly, there is an angel investor out there thinking of library startups.

      2. @juliemcpherson @tvandeusen Noname, a rapper and poet, did this recently! She created a book club a few couple of years back then opened brick-and-mortar headquarters this year as a “radical hood library.” Check it out:

      3. Julie McPherson Avatar
        Julie McPherson

        Thanks for pointing me to this, Angie. I am surprised I didn’t hear about the Book Club through the SFPL JARS program. I have memories of updating their template for book programs for people who are incarcerated. Love the storefront.

      4. Oh, this really cool! Thanks for the resource. I’m glad to see chapters in so many cities and surprised to see mine 🙂

      5. Julie McPherson Avatar
        Julie McPherson

        Trilby, the idea of library startups makes me both so excited and so anxious…

  3. Hi, Julie! I love your brief. It is so beautifully and thoughtfully constructed. You have some really important ideas here:

    “Fully serve, and serve fully” REALLY struck me. It feels so obvious and simple.

    “The longer the majority of our services remain online, the wider the digital divide will become.” I like the quote you included in your intro about how the pandemic has accentuated the vulnerability of those more disadvantaged members of our community and making it our goal, as librarians, to bridge the gap, so to speak, feels like the immediate future and need we need to address. I think your ideas presented in this brief are so spot on and achievable. I love the idea of partnering with retail spaces and I think Adulting 101 is so great.

    This is a fantastic brief. I enjoyed reading!

    1. Julie McPherson Avatar
      Julie McPherson

      Haley, thank you so much for your supportive words. Sometimes I feel like I am talking out of the side of my mouth, so it is nice to hear that this struck a cord with you. The research I did for this was really inspiring. The Idea Stores really do sound amazing and I can’t wait to visit one whenever I get around to taking my library world tour. Someday! Thanks again for tuning in, Julie

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