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Magnifying libraries

Magnifying the impact of libraries

The OCLC cooperative advances the mission of libraries through research, advocacy and community building. Research and advocacy are essential to support the way libraries will work in the future and to amplify their presence within their communities and on the wider stage of information services.

We work with organizations outside the library community to pilot, prototype and experiment with both services and programs. We also fund awards and fellowships to recognize and reward professional performance, and to provide career development and continuing education for library and information science professionals.

Our public purpose

OCLC’s public purpose is to establish, maintain and operate a computerized library network and to promote the evolution of library use, of libraries themselves and of librarianship, and to provide processes and products for the benefit of library users and libraries, including such objectives as increasing availability of library resources to individual library patrons and reducing the rate-of-rise of library per-unit costs, all for the fundamental public purpose of furthering ease of access to and use of the ever-expanding body of worldwide scientific, literary and educational knowledge and information.

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Research and reports—exploring new ideas, technology and possibilities

The OCLC cooperative is one of the world’s leading organizations devoted to the challenges facing libraries in a rapidly changing information environment. We conduct mission-oriented research and market research, and write scholarly papers, give presentations and represent community interests to national and international standards bodies. We share our research and reports both inside and outside the library community.

OCLC Research staff work with the library and information community to collaboratively identify challenges and opportunities, prototype and test solutions and share findings through publications, presentations and professional interactions.

For 10 years, the OCLC cooperative has been building a body of international market research on the information consumer. In compiling these member reports, OCLC has worked with library and information experts throughout the world as well as organizations such as Gartner, Outsell, Pew and Amazon.

Library syndication—putting libraries where users are

Through partnerships with search engines, consumer Web service providers and learning management systems, cooperative library data—contributed by OCLC members—is visible on the Internet to people everywhere. Library collections are syndicated across the Web for broad exposure, bringing searchers back to libraries. These partnerships, including those with EasyBib, Mendeley, Family Search, Yelp and Goodreads, generate some 1 million Web referrals to library services each month.

Girl on laptop in coffee shop

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Advocacy—amplifying the collective voice of libraries

The OCLC cooperative champions libraries to boost their visibility and leadership in the communities they serve. It’s part of the cooperative’s original charter: “promote the evolution of library use, libraries themselves and librarianship.” We have a long history of creating, testing and scaling programs that link funders and communities to the collective power of libraries. Recent programs include:

Awards and fellowships—developing and rewarding leadership

Through a series of educational programs, annual awards, scholarships and fellowships, the OCLC cooperative provides financial support for those beginning their library careers and for established library leaders who excel in their profession. In addition, we encourage research in the library and information science field with three grants per year to college and university faculty members.

The Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program provides early career development and continuing education for library and information science professionals from countries with developing economies.

The OCLC Diversity Fellowship program provides a unique opportunity to work at OCLC for aspiring library and information technology professionals from historically under-represented groups.

The OCLC Library and Information Science Education Program provides students with reduced or no-cost, hands-on use of reference, resource sharing, cataloging and other OCLC services.

OCLC sponsors or cosponsors the following awards in librarianship

Fellowship participants in a group picture