The interior Idea Store Whitechapel. Photo by Alice Chapman © Social Streets CIC
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Idea Store libraries more popular than ever with residents as satisfaction rates jump up

Overall satisfaction rates for libraries within Tower Hamlets have reached a level of 95%, according to a new survey published on 25th March by Tower Hamlets Council. 

The Council commissioned the survey in October 2023. The last time the Council had commissioned a similar form of survey was in 2018. 

Over 800 residents completed the survey and were asked about different aspects of the libraries such as the quality of customer care, choice of books, computer facilities and information provision.

Although satisfaction rates were still high in 2018, figures have jumped since then. 

Satisfaction with the interior attractiveness of the libraries has increased from 85% to 91%, computer facilities from 68% to 72% and satisfaction with the service overall has increased from 92% to 95%.

The head of Idea Stores, Sergio Dogliani said: ‘Our Idea Stores are constantly changing and evolving because that is in the nature of modern library services, and that’s very much the ‘Idea Store Way’ of doing things. We are determined to improve the quality of life for local residents. We regularly provide Warm Hubs during the winter, where people can come along and socialise in a warm place’. 

Following results from the survey, Dogliani added ‘We are currently focussing on expanding our digital offer, such as making more of our materials and services available online, wi-fi printing from people’s own devices, and free drop-in sessions for those who need assistance on their devices.’. 

A local resident named Sarah Baron, who uses all of the libraries across Tower Hamlets said: ‘I love coming here, I am a big book fan so it’s nice to be surrounded by books whilst I read’.

‘It’s so easy to access books and information online these days, I feel that library culture is slowly fading. [However] it’s really reviving to see that so many people are still not only using library services but also very satisfied with what they provide’. 

To make a comparison to other East London boroughs, Hackney Council commissioned a survey to their library users in 2021, scoring a 67% satisfaction rate with the quality of stock, 87% for building access, 79% for knowledge of staff, 82% for friendliness of staff and a 73% satisfaction rate for opening times. 

Additionally, a 2016 study from The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy found overall satisfaction rates of libraries within Southwark and Lambeth were both 91%. 

For more local news, read Council rejects Troxy’s application to increase capacity by 500 people

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