OCLC Global Council ratifies plans to streamline council structure, increase member engagement

New OCLC Leaders Council to be phased in over the next year

DUBLIN, Ohio, 25 March 2024—Following a comprehensive governance study, the OCLC Global Council ratified plans to establish a new council structure to clarify its role and increase member engagement. The new OCLC Leaders Council will be phased in over the next year with a clear purpose: to provide library perspectives that inform OCLC's strategic goals and to elect six trustees to the Board of Trustees.

photo: Pilar Martinez

Pilar Martinez
OCLC Board of Trustees

"The new Leaders Council is a huge step forward," said Pilar Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library, OCLC Board Trustee, and Co-Chair of the Governance Study Planning Team. "This move will not only improve the desired engagement, but will also bring us in closer alignment with the Board. This new council will be better positioned to serve its purpose in providing library insights to inform OCLC's strategic directions, and its smaller size will allow for deeper engagement with the Board and OCLC management."

The new Leaders Council combines three Regional Councils into one group comprised of two delegations—one consisting of members from North, Central, and South America and one that unites Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific regions. It allows flexibility in its membership to range from no fewer than 20 to no more than 24 members.

The evolution to a new OCLC Leaders Council follows 18 months of assessment. re:work, a library consulting firm, completed a review of OCLC's governing documents and conducted extensive interviews with more than 70 stakeholders.

A collaborative planning team was established to further refine the study recommendations into a workable plan. The Board of Trustees approved the plan and Global Council ratified the changes during its March meeting.

photo: Michael Levine-Clark

Michael Levine-Clark
OCLC Global Council

"This is the largest and most comprehensive governance study that OCLC has ever undertaken," said Michael Levine-Clark, Dean of Libraries, University of Denver, Chair, Americas Regional Council and Co-Chair of the Governance Study Planning Team. "Evaluating and evolving OCLC governance to fit current and future needs ensures that our structure and focus put us in the best position possible to serve the global OCLC membership."

From now until November, the current Global Council structure will remain intact. A transition team that includes both planning team members and additional members of Council will lead the transition to ensure complete implementation by November 2025.

The library landscape has changed significantly since the last OCLC Council governance study in 2008. In addition to the Council, OCLC members now connect with and provide feedback to OCLC staff through multiple channels—including advisory groups, the OCLC Community Center, as development partners, and through the Research Library Partnership.

OCLC has a history of regularly reviewing membership participation in its governance structure dating back to 1978 when it launched the first study that resulted in the OCLC Users Council. In 2000, Users Council became Members Council, and in 2008 Members Council evolved to Global Council.

More about OCLC leadership and governance is on the website.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library organization that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC’s WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

OCLC, WorldCat, WorldCat.org and WorldShare are trademarks and/or service marks of OCLC, Inc. Third-party product, service and business names are trademarks and/or service marks of their respective owners.


  • Bob Murphy

    Manager, Media Relations

    O: +1-614-761-5136

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