OCLC is a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. We connect libraries to manage and share the world’s knowledge and to form a community dedicated to the values of librarianship: cooperation, resource sharing and public service.
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. OCLC members cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the world’s most comprehensive database of library materials and a tribute to collaborative spirit of libraries. Librarians guide and shape our direction through a 16-member Board of Trustees—more than half of whom are librarians—and a global council of librarians, who are elected by regional councils of member libraries. The EMEA region has its own Regional Council and has 11 delegates on its Executive Committee from libraries representing the entire region.
History of Cooperation
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 cataloguing. Today, as technology has made the world smaller and the reach of libraries greater, OCLC has grown into a worldwide organization in which 23,000 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.
Expansion into Europe, Middle East & Africa
OCLC has through growth, acquisition and merger expanded its reach far into the region of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Starting, with just a few people, OCLC first opened a European office in 1981, in Birmingham, UK. In 1997, after acquiring a minority shareholding in the PICA Foundation in the Netherlands, OCLC PICA was created and Leiden became OCLC’s headquarters for the EMEA region.
Over the following decade, OCLC PICA expanded their division with the addition of SISIS Information Systems in Oberhaching, Germany and Fretwell-Downing Informatics Group in Sheffield, UK, before a full merger took place with OCLC in 2007, to create OCLC EMEA B.V.
OCLC EMEA has continued to grow, acquiring the assets of BOND GmbH & Co in 2011, a German-based library system provider for public libraries. Today it employs over 300 staff in its 6 offices.
Connecting people to knowledge through library cooperation.
The world's libraries. Connected.