OCLC is a global library cooperative, composed of more than 16,000 library members from around the world. Our members span library types from public libraries serving the smallest rural towns to the largest research libraries in the world.
The knowledge transfer and exchange fueled by libraries enables many notable experiences: the child learning to read; the scientist expanding an avenue of medical research; an entrepreneur building a viable business plan. The individuals in these examples often gain their initial foothold, inspiration and roadmap in a library. We celebrate the accomplishments and the end result of the knowledge, but the journey to these breakthroughs is often not as visible. Libraries play a key role in these life-altering journeys and ground-breaking discoveries.
The role that libraries play continues to grow, based on the evolving needs of their respective communities. Libraries provide internet services, vital not only to learning but also to finding a job and to accessing social services. Libraries directly impact student outcomes, from pre-K and K–12 to community colleges to large research universities. Libraries maintain important collections, preserving the history of our communities, regions, countries and people.
Libraries are a great equalizer in our society. The services they provide flatten economic and social classes, allowing all learners equal access to the world’s information. In today’s rapidly evolving technology age, these services are needed now more than ever. OCLC itself is a testament to library innovation, collaboration and resourcefulness. Fifty years ago this July, a group of Ohio libraries joined together as the founding members of OCLC, devising a means to leverage technology to share information and work across their institutions.
OCLC, on behalf of its member libraries, supports the continuity of library programs and funding and information policies that enable libraries to serve their communities, including:
- Funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant program administered by the Department of Education, authorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA);
- Support for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in the fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill; and
- Funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
While OCLC is but one organization with 1,200 staff members around the world, we amplify the voices of our global library membership. And through our membership, we represent the voices of the many users whose lives have been and will be positively influenced by a library.