Books? What books? Sally Kurdna – Fairfax Media

Fairfax Media has no physical space. The library is embedded into various areas in the company, and has been since 2006. Fairfax Media provides research to all areas of the company, with the exception of the Age, which has its own research library.

Librarians have desks in amongst the departments and the collection dispersed to various spaces, basement storage, corridors and more.

The benefits of embedded librarians to clients: library team is not tied to the image of a room of books, but acknowledged for their information skills. They are flexible and accessible and on hand for the urgent information queries. They are part of the news meeting where stories are discussed and available for immediate consultation. A survey of Fairfax Media staff of this arrangement returned an overwhelmingly positive result.

Drawbacks of the model: communications barriers arose, librarians were stripped of their immediate resources apart from their desktops – leading to frustration and vulnerability and the feeling that they were not able to provide the high quality of service they had before, the dispersal of the physical collection led to the devaluing of it in the eyes of both library and company staff.

Breaking down communication barriers within the library team – go drinking, use RefTracker to monitor requests to stop duplication of work, library team meets after the news conference. Breaking down barriers with clients – having the library staff location clearly branded, online branding through notes on emails etc, proactive information generation including background to developing stories, moved serials collections close to where the librarians were located.