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How to become a member

Membership in the OCLC cooperative

In its June 2009 meeting, the OCLC Board of Trustees voted to approve a new membership definition, effective July 1, 2009.

Definition of membership:

Any library or cultural heritage institution that embraces the OCLC values of collaboration and sharing is welcome. Institutions worldwide become members of OCLC by contractually agreeing to contribute intellectual content or share resources. Our cooperative is strengthened by our membership’s diversity, such as geographical, institutional type, or size.

OCLC members are united by similar and complementary content and processes. They are connected through mutual purpose, shared enterprise, and the creation, sharing, and stewardship of metadata, content, and other resources. For example, WorldCat is maintained through the collaborative efforts of OCLC members. Members respect the intellectual property rights of other members and the cooperative.

OCLC members share in a variety of ways, such as (but not limited by):

  • Contributing metadata
  • Sharing holdings information
  • Sharing staff resources and expertise, such as in a reference cooperative
  • Making digital content available to other members
  • Sharing materials using OCLC services
  • Contributing to OCLC in other ways (in the future appended to this list) indicating an agreed upon significant level of engagement with the cooperative

OCLC services and products qualifying for membership status are identified annually. These services and products are proposed by OCLC staff, reviewed by the Membership Committee, and any changes are approved by the Global Council and the Board of Trustees.

Members financially support OCLC through purchase of services or products. Without the ongoing contribution of intellectual content or sharing of resources, such purchases do not qualify an institution for Membership.

Voting rights for members are as set forth in the OCLC Code of Regulations. Global Council Member Delegates (as described below in Section V) come from member institutions. All elected delegates are full voting members of the Global Council itself.

Read the entire OCLC Membership and Governance Protocols, from which this definition is taken.