Global Council at a crossroads

Peter Sidorko

Global Council Select1I recently attended the OCLC Asia Pacific Regional Council Meeting in Hong Kong where the theme was “Libraries at the Crossroads.” It was a great topic, one that is relevant to us all. As librarians, we continuously face crossroads—changing patron preferences, evolving institutions, new technologies. We had excellent discussions about how we can best move forward, together. It’s the same theme we’ll explore at the upcoming Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council Meeting in Germany in February. I’m greatly looking forward to continuing the discussion.

This “crossroads” analogy also has framed recent Global Council discussions and decisions. At our meeting this past November, Delegates agreed to sharpen our focus on member activities, such as OCLC regional meetings and product, user and working groups that advance the interests of our member institutions.

What is OCLC Global Council?

As an OCLC member, you have a voice in the cooperative through our Global Council, which is made up of three Regional Councils: the Americas (ARC), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (AP). Member Delegates reflect the diversity of our membership. The 48 elected Delegates represent 20 different countries and a variety of library types. These Delegates work on your behalf to keep OCLC leadership informed on member needs and interests.

Each year, Delegates travel to the OCLC headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, USA, to share what we are hearing and learning from members. Often, these conversations raise awareness about specific needs like the importance of Unicode to the global cataloging community. One of our most important responsibilities is to elect six library members to the Board of Trustees who, along with the other eight members of the Board, answer to and represent our member institutions. We also bring members together to explore industry-wide themes and hear from thought leaders around the globe at regional meetings, Member Forums and other gatherings.

Reflecting on reflecting

Over the last year, Global Council has undergone a transformation that will strengthen Delegates’ ability to reflect the needs and interests of our members. Together, our professional expertise and understanding informs OCLC on needs within our broad-based member communities. Our diversity as a Council allows us to raise awareness of regional issues and identify important trends and opportunities based on our knowledge of the different library types in which we work.

To do this, we have agreed to take a more active role in shaping the ways in which OCLC engages with members worldwide. Over the coming months, you will have more opportunities to get to know your Delegates and learn how we can work more closely together to participate, share and learn from our colleagues and peers.

Engaging through your regional Delegates, you have a connection to OCLC and a voice in shaping cooperative participation. There are a variety of ways that any individual librarian can become more personally and professionally engaged with OCLC: everything from user and advisory groups to serving on a Regional Council. But today I want to emphasize an important and defining activity that being a member of OCLC offers: the ability to have a voice and a vote by electing Delegates to represent your interests on the Regional and Global Councils.

Elections for Global Council will be held from 1 February to 15 March 2017. You will be introduced to an impressive slate of candidates from your region—your peers and colleagues who have volunteered to be considered for a seat on the Council. They are leaders within their communities who will work on your behalf to bring energy, enthusiasm and expertise to the world’s largest library cooperative.

Each member institution has one vote, and one designated voting representative who will vote to elect Delegates within your region. Please make sure your voting contact’s name is current. If you don’t know who your library’s voting representative is, ask your Manager or Director, or contact us at memberrelations@oclc.org.

As President of Global Council, I am proud to be able to work so closely with this diverse group of dedicated library leaders who come together to share their viewpoints of libraries of all types and from countries all over the world. I’d like to thank these candidates, and all our members, for everything they do to help guide and propel OCLC forward.