July 2018 marked my fifth anniversary at OCLC. I remember my first few months as clearly as yesterday: being greeted by hundreds of staff members at OCLC headquarters, receiving a seemingly endless line of well‐wishers at ALA Annual in Chicago, and meeting so many global delegates at the IFLA WLIC in Singapore. Too many new connections to count, and I still appreciate that sense of community and inclusiveness.
I’ve met with members around the world, at Regional Council conferences and Global Council meetings.
I’m proud of all that we’ve done in the last five years. OCLC has a new, state‐of‐the‐art technology platform on which we’ve been rapidly transforming our services. Several organizations joined the OCLC family, including Sustainable Collection Services (SCS) and Relais™, to improve shared print and consortial lending opportunities, while Dutch and Italian providers HKA and IFNET joined to help us better serve libraries in their regions. We launched the first cloud‐based interlibrary loan management system, Tipasa. We’ve done groundbreaking research on linked data, library user preferences, and the collective collection. Our community celebrated OCLC’s 50th anniversary and collaborated through many Global and Regional Council meetings, user group sessions, and various forums around the world.
Two memorable moments for me were IFLA WLIC at OCLC’s campus and the printing of the last catalog card.
If we want to continue to move faster, it’s imperative that we do so in ways that leverage the unique network effect of the OCLC community—we are smarter when we work together. To help guide us in that effort, we facilitated a global conversation around “smarter libraries” with our members around the world.
That dialogue helped make 2018 an astounding year at OCLC. Smarter investments in product development brought immediate, practical benefits to our members. More than 600 libraries of all sizes and types now use WorldShare Management Services to work smarter every day. We launched Syndeo to serve national and regional groups with a flexible suite of services to facilitate library collaboration. We launched OCLC Wise in the US, the first‐ever community engagement system for public libraries, which combines the power of customer relationship management, marketing, and analytics with ILS functions. Our research delved into subjects as diverse as voter perceptions, library marketing, and research data management. And we’ve expanded important partnerships with organizations like Jisc, ALA/PLA, Wikipedia, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
I’m proud to have been part of OCLC’s 50th anniversary celebrations and launching OCLC Wise in the US.
As I reflect on the last five years of transformation, I am more enthusiastic than ever about the future of libraries and of OCLC, though there is much more to do. The journey ahead will likely be filled by even more challenges and opportunities than ever before. Libraries continue to serve their communities in new and expanded ways, navigating changing environments and demographics as well as the relentless pace of technology and innovation. OCLC will continue its work alongside libraries. We will continue bringing new solutions, identifying future possibilities, and convening expert voices for the advancement of the community. This has been our focus for more than 50 years, and it will take us into the future together.
Thank you for five fantastic years. Your insights, innovations, and commitment inspire me every day.
OCLC President and Chief Executive Officer
As a nonprofit cooperative, OCLC is governed by a 15‐member Board of Trustees, more than half of whom are librarians. Six members of the Board are chosen by OCLC’s 48‐member Global Council.
The focus of Global Council’s activities for 2017–2018 centered on fully implementing the previous year’s “Building our Future” plan. It was a successful year as committee delegates worked through the intricacies and details of putting new charters, action plans, and processes in place. This was also the first year in which the Global Council Program Committee was charged with supporting topical conversations with members at both the regional and global levels.
To help libraries address the challenge of managing research data, The Realities of Research Data Management, a four‐report series, explored the decision‐making processes of four research universities as they developed research data management service bundles.BLOG
In FY18, OCLC’s revenues from library services increased by $9.2 million over the previous year. Growth in library subscriptions to WorldShare Management Services and CONTENTdm digital collection software helped revenues reach $217.6 million. Also contributing to the rise in revenues were our partnership with Jisc to build a UK national digital library and new library contracts for EZproxy®, our access and authentication software.
Accelerated product development for management, metadata, resource sharing, and end‐user services, will continue to support the cooperative over the next several years. One example of this is the advancement of Wise, our community engagement system for public libraries. This past year we signed our first US adopter, and we signed a contract with Cultuurconnect to bring the service to more than 300 public libraries in Belgium.
Net contribution for FY18 was $4.6 million. Revenue from library services and income from our investment portfolio provided a stable cash flow to fund operations, improve services, and make strategic capital investments.
|Library services revenue||$217.6||$208.4|
|Operating results before portfolio activity||($6.2)||($6.7)|
|Investment portfolio activity|
|Dividends and interest income||$9.2||$7.0|
Our investment portfolio was valued at $236.2 million at the end of FY18, increasing from $234.1 million in the prior year. The portfolio increase resulted from performance in the overall market. The portfolio is managed like an endowment and generates dividend and interest income.
At the end of FY18, OCLC’s outstanding debt was $86.7 million compared to $79.0 million in FY17.
We regularly engage with our membership through Regional and Global Council meetings as well as specific product groups, advisory committees, and research projects in order to identify trends that are shaping the library profession. Based on these conversations, we continue to invest in a variety of specific initiatives that our members have told us are critical to their success.