Archived news releases, 1994-1999

  • OCLC Users Council nominates board candidates

OCLC Users Council nominates board candidates at February meeting

DUBLIN, Ohio, March 4, 1998--At the Feb. 8-10 meeting in Dublin, the OCLC Users Council nominated four candidates for election to the OCLC Board of Trustees and explored emerging trends for libraries in distance education and life-long learning.

According to Users Council President Merryll Penson, associate university librarian for Public Services, University of Georgia, the focus of the meeting was "Innovate and Inform: Libraries and the Value of Learning." It was the second of three meetings in the 1997/98 general program, "Integrate, Innovate, Internationalize and Inform: Affirming OCLC Membership Values while Implementing New Strategic Directions." Ms. Penson said, "We explored ways that libraries and OCLC might work together to strengthen existing services and offer new services that support distance learning and life-long education."

On Feb. 8, OCLC Board member William G. Potter, director of libraries, University of Georgia, reviewed the duties and responsibilities of OCLC trustees.

Nominated for the two open positions with six-year terms on the OCLC Board of Trustees were: Brad Baker, university librarian/director of Media Services, Northeastern Illinois University; Barbara Gubbin, director, Houston Public Library; Victoria Hanawalt, college librarian, Reed College (Oregon); and Edward Meachen, associate vice president for the Office of Learning, University of Wisconsin System. Users Council delegates will vote by mail-in ballot, and the two new board members will be announced at the May Users Council meeting.

K. Wayne Smith, OCLC president and CEO, updated delegates on OCLC's recent accomplishments and activities. He announced a new phase of the OCLC Workstation Replacement Program, which will provide credits to replace older OCLC workstations in libraries. As of June 30, OCLC will have provided a total of some $5 million in subsidies through the three-year program. He also announced that OCLC will integrate its EPIC service with the FirstSearch service by July 1999.

On Feb. 9, Paul C. Hardin--head, Educational Technology Assistance Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign--spoke on "Innovative Technologies for Education: Changing the Paradigm of Teaching and Learning"; and Patrick M. O'Brien--director of libraries, Alexandria (Virginia) Public Library, and member of the OCLC Board of Trustees--presented "Current and Future Education Trends: Implications for Libraries."

According to Dr. Hardin the entire model of education will shift from today's university model to one in which most courses would be offered through multi-institutional "virtual universities." To support the new model, a virtual library would be created providing access to 60 million books and 550,000 serials at the user's desktop. "And when might this mega-library be built?" said Dr. Hardin. "Well, it's under construction today, and OCLC is a part of it."

In his presentation, Mr. O'Brien predicted libraries in which the majority of information is electronic and users can push a button (on a personal digital assistant-like device) to summon a member of the reference staff.

Responding to these presentations were: Anne Parent, regional administrator, Central Massachusetts Library System, representing public libraries; Susan Fifer Canby, director, Library and Indexing, National Geographic Society Library, representing special libraries; and Nancy Baker, director of libraries, Washington State University Libraries, representing academic libraries. Edward Meachen moderated the discussion.

Martin Dillon, executive director of the OCLC Institute, outlined the institute's activities during its first year of operations. The institute is dedicated to promoting the evolution of libraries and information services by providing managers with opportunities for advanced education and knowledge exchange. Last June, the OCLC Institute opened with a seminar on "Information Technology: Trends for the Global Library Community" for 22 library leaders from 15 major Brazilian libraries, and each of the Institute's subsequent seminars on "Knowledge Access Management" have been filled to capacity.

Susan Tarr, executive director of the FEDLINK network and chair of the Regional OCLC Network Directors Advisory Committee (RONDAC), discussed the roles of OCLC networks in educating librarians. She reviewed the volume of educational opportunities provided by the networks, noting their workshops, conferences and support opportunities and discussed the emerging importance of distance education technologies in supporting career-long learning for librarians.

Leigh Estabrook, dean of the Graduate School of Librarianship and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, described the school's LEEP3 distance learning path for the MLS degree. She said that LEEP3 has the same components as the in-residence program. "This is not about technology," said Dr. Estabrook. "Technology is the vehicle for teaching these courses." Additionally, she said that distance learning has not eliminated the traditional needs of students for support. In fact, it has created more.

Terry Noreault, director, OCLC Office of Research and Special Projects, demonstrated a new distance learning technology--video conferencing via a network or the Internet, which he described as being "not quite ready for prime time."

In small groups, Users Council delegates discussed the OCLC Institute's role in library education, as well as emerging trends in life-long learning and education and how they will affect libraries. William Sanwald, assistant to the city manager, San Diego Public Library, summarized those discussions in a general session for the delegates.

Liz Bishoff, vice president for Member Services, updated delegates on recent developments at OCLC.

The next OCLC Users Council meeting will be held May 18-20, 1998, on the topic "Internationalize: The Value of OCLC Membership in a Global Library Community." Minutes from OCLC Users Council meetings, from October 1990 through the October 1997 meeting, are available on the Internet. Minutes from the February 1998 meeting will be available by March 17.

To receive meeting minutes via the Internet, send a message to Commands should be typed on separate lines in the body of the message, not in the subject line. Enter the command, index uc, to receive the index of archived minutes. Enter get minutes.[monthyear] for the desired meeting minutes. For example, enter the command get minutes.feb98 to receive a copy of the February 1998 Users Council meeting minutes.

The Users Council comprises librarians from networks and other partners whose contributions to WorldCat (the OCLC Online Union Catalog) qualify them for membership. Representing the various interests of OCLC member libraries, delegates ratify amendments to the Code of Regulations and advise OCLC on strategic direction.

OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization whose computer network and services link more 26,000 libraries in 64 countries and territories .