Re-engineering their role and their space: the Arup Library

At the September After5 meeting, Kim Sherwin, Senior Librarian & Knowledge Specialist at Arup, gave an excellent presentation in the Arup offices in Sydney, on how the roles of Arup’s librarians have been re-engineered and how the space occupied by the library has changed and why.

Kim is part of a thriving regional corporate library team within Arup, “an international, independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services”.

Arupis particularly well known for the work done on the Sydney Opera House, and as a business that acknowledges knowledge is central to everything they do, the company has established Arup University as“an internal structure which aims to foster the creative development of the people, knowledge and skills of the firm”.

Nearly 2 years ago,the library team became an integral part of Arup University, even though the librarians are spread far and wide, with five full time equivalent colleagues in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore and Sydney. The team also spans 3 time zones. All of the regional librarians play a key role in supporting the business through research activities.

Arup’s Sydney office has recently undergone a partial refresh, an experimental precursor to an office re-location in 2018 and this refresh now places the Sydney librariansin the heart of the new space occupied by library clients. So it was fascinating to learn how successful the new unorthodox spatial arrangements are.

At the After5 meeting, Kim also outlined Arup’s recently released report on Future Libraries. Some regular After5-ers participated in workshops for the report for which Kim was researcher and co-author.

(http://publications.arup.com/Publications/F/Future_Libraries.aspx).

It was so refreshing to hear such a wonderful success story and to hear first-hand how librarians within the Arup group are adding value and being recognized by management for doing so.

Elizabeth Swan
October 2015


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