About the OCLC Research Library Partnership (RLP)

The OCLC Research Library Partnership (RLP) is a multinational community of research libraries dedicated to improving library practice through professional development, collaborative research, and information sharing. The RLP offers libraries direct engagement opportunities in diverse formats, ranging from small group discussions and webinars to working groups and in-person events. Most activities are offered virtually, providing an affordable, accessible resource for library staff.

The RLP supports libraries as they evolve to meet shifting challenges and opportunities, drawing on the perspectives and expertise of partner organizations to drive collaboration and discovery of practical insights.

Together, we are shaping the future of research libraries.

Key programmatic areas

We develop research and engagement programs in four areas of high interest to research libraries:

  • Next generation metadata
  • Resource sharing and collective collections
  • Unique and distinctive collections
  • Research support

Across these programmatic themes, the RLP seeks to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion.

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Connecting research to practice

The RLP supports our affiliates in adapting research to local and community practice through:

  • Knowledge sharing events
  • Engagement  
  • Thought leadership
  • Strategic network partnerships
  • SHARES resource sharing consortium

Knowledge sharing events

We facilitate webinars, small group discussions, and workshops to support sharing, learning, and professional development:

  • Inviting RLP affiliates to share and learn about leading-edge activities in our Works in Progress webinar series.
  • Hosting small group discussions to facilitate collaboration on common challenges. These topics are often inspired and co-developed by affiliates. An example is a recent discussion on Collections as Data.  
  • Facilitating workshops to share, discuss, and apply OCLC Research outputs. An example is our popular Social Interoperability Workshop.
  • Convening weekly unscripted town halls for participants of the SHARES resource sharing consortium and share syntheses of discussions with all consortium members.


There are many ways for RLP affiliates to engage beyond event participation, including:

  • Participate in a leadership capacity by serving on a group that shapes strategic programmatic discussions, such as the Metadata Managers Focus Group Steering Committee or the SHARES Executive group.
  • Converse with peers in a standing peer learning group like the Metadata Managers Focus Group.
  • Collaborate on research directly with OCLC Research, which might take the form of:
  • Consult directly with RLP program officers who are available to share their expertise and offer guidance in our areas of programmatic focus. 
  • The RLP seeks to prioritize RLP institutions in OCLC Research projects whenever possible.

Stay in the know: Subscribe to our email and discussion lists.

Thought leadership

The RLP regularly synthesizes and shares the results of our research and engagement activities, providing thought leadership to the field. We do this through:

Strategic network partnerships

The RLP partners with key organizations supporting research institutions on both engagement and research activities in areas of common interest, including:

Upcoming Events

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Sep 10

10 September 2024

OCLC RLP discussion: Future-proofing library teams through adaptation

Research libraries are changing: greater connection to the broader network, engagement with non-library campus stakeholders, and support for “inside out” collections.” Join the RLP for a discussion about challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities for library leaders at all levels.

  • Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time, North America [UTC -4]

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RLP Abstract

RLP Abstract Cover

Everything you want to know about the Research Library Partnership (RLP) in one easy to read and share document.

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SHARES resource sharing consortium

As part of RLP membership, institutions can participate in the SHARES resource sharing consortium. SHARES fosters collection sharing and develops tools and preferred practices. About two-thirds of RLP affiliates participate in SHARES, which supports resource sharing innovation and best practices to unite trusted partners in providing access to diverse collections. Many of our institutions find it offers significant cost savings, too.  

Who we are

RLP activities are led by an energetic team of program officers based in the United States and Europe. We liaise with partner institutions and networks to develop knowledge sharing events, engagement programs, and collaborative research activities. We synthesize and share the results of our activities to the broader library community. RLP staff dedicate time and resources to hone our skills as conveners of events, and we approach our programmatic activities with an ethic of care and mutual support. We want time spent with the RLP to be well spent.

Join us

The OCLC Research Library Partnership offers an affordable way for research libraries to stay up-to-date, network, engage in peer learning, and shape the future of OCLC Research.

How to Join