Wednesday, 8 August 2007

DEL Information Unit, Sheffield.

Sheffield City Council has decided to close the Development, Environment & Leisure (DEL) Information Unit (Technical Library) which was based at Carbrook and Howden House. This was a specialised information service covering urban design, architecture, construction, highway maintenance and design etc., mainly used by the staff of DEL. It was a member of SINTO.
The press release says that "Following an extensive consultation and business review that found that colleagues are increasingly able to satisfy the majority of their own information needs using the intranet or Internet, the DEL Information Unit (Technical Library) will be closing on the 9th August."
If this is the case then I cannot argue with the decision but one is left wondering how fully staff are able to meet their own information needs in this specialist area from the intranet and Internet. Assuming that Sheffield City Council does not expect the information needs for, say, highway maintenance to be met by looking things up on Wikipedia, I assume that staff will have access to specialist information resources through the intranet and Internet. But who is now responsible for providing access to these resources for staff? One of the library's staff members is taking up a new "communications and information role in the Strategy Team and the press release says that "questions regarding future technical information provision should be addressed to line managers". This should mean that a new structure will be in place so that staff will have access to the information they need whether it is in print or electronic format. Given the importance of urban design etc to the development of Sheffield I certainly hope so.

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