DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 27 May 2008—OCLC has adopted a new governance structure designed to extend participation in the cooperative to an increasing number of libraries and cultural heritage institutions around the world.
On May 20, the OCLC Members Council approved changes to the Articles of Incorporation and Code of Regulations that had been recommended by the Board of Trustees. The changes will transform the current Members Council into a Global Council that connects with Regional Councils around the world.
Members Council also elected two delegates to six-year terms on the OCLC Board of Trustees: Tony Ferguson, University Librarian, University of Hong Kong Libraries; and Sandy Yee, Dean of Libraries, Wayne State University, and outgoing OCLC Members Council President.
The new Global Council will replace the Members Council in a transition that is expected to take 12-18 months and will be coordinated between representatives of the 2008-2009 Members Council and the Board of Trustees.
"I believe this is the next step to make OCLC a true global cooperative, with local connections and local touch through Regional Councils," said Larry Alford, Chair, OCLC Board of Trustees and Dean of University Libraries, Temple University. "The Board remains deeply committed to libraries and other cultural heritage organizations as we continue to work cooperatively for the benefit of our users worldwide."
"I look forward to helping to smooth the governance transition by working closely with colleagues on the 2008-2009 Members Council," said Ms. Yee, who will make the transition from Members Council President to Board member. "After reading the documents and listening closely to the discussions about this move, I am confident that OCLC is positioned to continue to grow and add value to the membership worldwide."
"I’m very excited about the prospect of involving librarians from throughout the Asia Pacific region in the evaluation of OCLC products and services," said Mr. Ferguson, who also makes the move from Members Council to the Board. "Asia Pacific librarians who attend the new Regional Council meetings will network with others facing the same challenges and will be able to directly communicate their needs and concerns to OCLC managers and developers."
"OCLC management will do what it takes to support the transition to the new governance model," said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. "We want and need to hear from the various regions of the OCLC cooperative. We want to improve the conversation at all levels throughout the cooperative."
"Many people with a deep commitment to libraries and to the OCLC cooperative worked very hard over many months to develop these governance recommendations. I am very grateful to them for their time and effort," said Mr. Alford.
Members Council passed a resolution recommending that Council, as a body, vote on the new recommended structure; that the Regional Councils should be set up based on agreed upon principles, and that they are funded properly. The resolution also stated that a methodology should be designed for broad representation of all types and sizes of institutions represented on Regional Councils.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Ms. Yee handed the gavel to incoming Members Council President Loretta Parham, Library Director/CEO, The Atlanta University Center. Council also elected Jan Ison, Executive Director, Lincoln Trail Libraries System as Vice President/President Elect for 2008/2009. Newly-elected delegates at large are:
- Poul Erlandsen, Head, Document Access Services and Collection Management, Danish University of Education
- Kathleen Imhoff, Executive Director/CEO, Lexington Public Library
- Lyn McKinney, Head Librarian, Billings (Montana) Senior High School
- Pat Wilkinson, Library Director, University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh
More about the new governance structure
Since 1998, under Mr. Jordan’s leadership, OCLC has increased the number of participating libraries from 30,000 to 60,000 worldwide; the number of participants outside the United States has grown from 3,200 to nearly 12,000; and WorldCat has grown to over 100 million bibliographic records and more than 1 billion holdings. The increase in libraries worldwide contributing to WorldCat has resulted in another milestone—as of April 2008, there are now slightly more records (50.25 percent) for materials in languages other than English in WorldCat than there are records for English language materials (49.75 percent).
OCLC has made steady progress toward becoming a global library cooperative since its beginning as an intrastate cooperative in the state of Ohio.
The OCLC governance structure was established in 1977 and was last reviewed and revised in 2000. That process led to changes such as adding more delegates from outside the United States. During that process, it was recommended that OCLC review its governance structure within a 10-year period.
After discussions at the Members Council meeting in February 2007, the Board of Trustees established a Governance Study Committee comprised of past and present Members Council and Board leaders. A report from that committee was the culmination of extensive deliberations informed by a consultancy group. In February 2008, Members Council, with many trustees present, spent a great deal of time discussing issues raised by the studies. Discussion continued at the April 2008 Board meeting, and resulted in the recommendations approved by Members Council May 20.
The new governance structure comprises: Members, Regional Councils, Global Council and Board of Trustees.
- Members. OCLC Members are those entities that meet a minimum threshold of engagement with OCLC as defined in the Membership and Governance Protocols. A more complete definition of membership will be developed as part of the transition process. The Members will participate in meetings of their respective Regional Councils.
- Regional Councils. The purpose of the Regional Councils is to strengthen the cooperative throughout the world and make it easier to participate in its governance. Members will convene at one or more Regional Council meetings on a regular basis to keep current on issues of vital and immediate interest to the OCLC cooperative. The Regional Councils will also elect Member Delegates who will attend the Annual Global Council Meetings.
- Global Council. The Global Council will be comprised of Member Delegates elected by the Regional Councils. The Global Council’s principal responsibilities are to elect six members of the Board of Trustees and ratify amendments to the articles of incorporation and code of regulations of OCLC. The Global Council will convene at least once a year at an annual Global Council meeting, location to be determined by the Council.
- Board of Trustees. Under the new structure, the Board will normally have 15 trustees elected to a four-year term, but can vary in size from 13 to 17 trustees from time to time as determined by the trustees. The Global Council will elect six trustees, and the Board will elect the remaining trustees. The President and CEO will continue to hold a voting seat on the Board. Normally, a majority of the Trustees will be members of the library or cultural heritage communities. The Board of Trustees performs all of the traditional fiduciary and constituency duties related to such governing bodies.
About Members Council
The 66-delegate Members Council supports OCLC’s mission by serving as the key discussion forum and communications link between member libraries, regional networks and other partners, and OCLC management. By providing a channel for recommendations and questions from Members Council delegates, approving changes in the Code of Regulations and electing six members of the Board of Trustees, Members Council helps shape the future direction of OCLC.
Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, e-content and preservation services to 60,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.oclc.org.