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History of cooperation

Increasing access to information

In 1967, a small group of library leaders believed that working together, they could find solutions to the day’s most pressing issues facing libraries. They began with the idea of combining computer technology with library cooperation to reduce costs and improve services through shared, online cataloging. Today, as technology has made the world smaller and the reach of libraries greater, OCLC has grown into a worldwide organization in which 16,737 libraries, archives and museums in 170 countries are members. And the OCLC cooperative is helping libraries define their place in the digital world with new Webscale services that amplify and extend library cooperation even further.

George Bishop sitting at a table

“Through the cooperative, our mission is achievable. Our library and its users will never be the same.”

George Bishop, Ovid-Elsie Area Schools, Elsie Michigan

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Learn more »