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What's On

We're returning to normal service, however, to protect our staff and visitors we encourage face coverings to be worn when entering and moving around our buildings, and in lifts.

Please respect those around you and wear a face covering.

get online go digital

Need help using your smart device or want to brush up on your IT skills?

  • Job searching    
  • Online services
  • Money matters    
  • Health information
  • Using social media    
  • Online shopping

Come along to our weekly workshop and learn at your own pace.

Tuesdays, 2:15 - 3:45pm
Idea Store Chrisp Street

Wednesdays, 2:15 - 3:45pm
Idea Store Whitechapel

prime time

Are you over 50 and want to chat with other people your age? Then join our weekly Prime Time session to enjoy socialising, as well as talks, films, games and other events.

We have moved back to face-to-face sessions, initially at Cubitt Town Library, and Idea Store Whitechapel but with more locations to follow. 

For more information see the Cubit Town Prime Time schedule and the Idea Store Whitechapel schedule


Reading Friends

Reading Friends brings people together to read, share stories, meet new friends, and have fun. We use reading – whether books, magazines, newspapers, or anything else – to start everyone chatting. 

See the Reading Friends page for more information on how to join.


online conversation club

Is English your second language and you want to practise speaking it with others? Then join our weekly Conversation Club. We have two sessions:

Wednesdays, 11am - 12noon Online
Email or and we will send you an invite to the next session

Tuesdays, 11am - 12noon 
Idea Store Chrisp Street.


book break online

Would you like to share stories and poetry to lift the mood? Possibly take a turn of reading out loud? Join our weekly Book Break group every Tuesday from 2 - 3pm.

Please email who will send you an invite to the next session.


book group online Talk about what you’re reading and make friends with other readers. We have two online books groups and you’re welcome to join either – or both


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Thursday 9 June, 6:30pm
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

In a brief prologue, Elena Greco, a woman in her sixties living in Turin, Italy, receives a call from her friend Lila’s son back in Naples. Rafaella “Lila” Cerullo, Elena’s friend since childhood, has gone missing. Angry with Lila for taking things “too far,” she sits down at her computer to write their story. Looking back on her childhood in 1950s Naples, Elena then known as Lenù, recalls life in a neighbourhood run by loan sharks and Camorrists (gangsters) and dominated by widespread violence perpetrated by both men and women.

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Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Wednesday 18 May at 6:15pm on Zoom.

When the meaning of ‘home’ is complicated, we strive for a sense of connection. Yet sometimes being alone feels like the easiest choice to make. Spanning decades and cities, ‘Harmless Like You’ captures a fractured family narrative of love, loneliness, and reconciliation.

Copies are available to collect from Idea Store Canary Wharf.

You are welcome to join both groups. Staff involved will be able to guide you as to how to login

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Idea Store Bow Book Group

Wednesday 1 June 7:00pm
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

A renowned American writer won the 2020 Goodreads Choice Award for History and Biography with this exploration of the social divisions in American society, many of them unacknowledged, using comparisons with India and Nazi Germany.
"It is a painfully resonant book and could not have come at a more urgent time." Guardian

6 July       The Talented Mr Ripley  by Patricia Highsmith

3  August or 7 Sept  The Plot  by Jean Hanff Korelit

These sessions may be run on Zoom or in store, depending on some refurbishment work at Idea Store Bow..
If you would like to join the group above please email  and you will be contacted with a login for the session on Zoom or details of a meeting time and place in Idea Store Bow.


community navigators

Idea Store Community Navigator health advice sessions have moved online to give one to one support. Community Navigators can help with:

•    Advice on keeping safe and healthy
•    Information about how the Council can help you
•    Information about other services and groups that can give support, including foodbanks, voluntary groups, financial advice services

They are also able to give extra support to vulnerable or isolated residents, for example making phone calls or emailing on their behalf.

If you would like to contact a Community Navigator email:


local history library and archives

Bangladesh 50 Years
Identity and belonging in the East End before and after the Libreration War of 1971

2021 marks 50 years since the independence of Bangladesh. To mark the significance of this, Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives (THLHLA) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) are leading Bangladesh 50 Years, one of four projects that forms a part of the National Portrait Gallery’s offsite programme; Citizen UK, during its temporary closure to transform the gallery. 

Citizen UK is an exciting research and creative engagement project involving the borough archive services, local communities and contemporary artists. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project will conclude with a Bangladesh 50 Festival taking place February - March 2021, marking Bangladesh Independence Day (26 March) and the related anniversary UN International Mother Language Day (21 February),  kicked off by the launch of a creative commission which will sit in the public realm in Tower Hamlets as well as a exhibition curated by Citizen Researchers, informed by historical materials from Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives and the National Portrait Gallery. See more information

Online exhibition

From Town Hall to Local History Library & Archives: new online exhibition is now available.
A short history of our service and premises, 1861-2015 is based on research undertaken for last year's 50th anniversary celebrations of the borough.

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