Canada

Woman and child in library

Our story

A powerful mission and passionate membership

We are a nonprofit library cooperative providing research, programs and services that help libraries share the world’s knowledge and the work of organizing it. The needs of our members guide our actions and investments. Through a shared governance structure, librarians manage and direct the cooperative.


Skip Prichard

“OCLC is a unique organization—a global cooperative with an ambitious mission, a passionate and engaged membership and a committed, energized staff.”

Skip Prichard
OCLC President and CEO


A diverse, global library membership

Our members come from every type of library across 109 countries. Academic, research, public, community college and special libraries are among those represented within the OCLC cooperative, as well as library groups and consortia.

By working together we can find practical solutions to the most pressing issues in the community. We are dedicated to promoting libraries, library use and librarianship.

Together, OCLC members represent a cohesive hub of library data, activities and interests. This helps increase the collective influence of libraries, making it possible to develop partnerships and programs that would be impossible for most libraries to achieve alone.

Woman smiling next to books

Library information desk

Library roots and heritage

In 1967, a small group of library leaders founded OCLC with an ambitious public purpose, to:

  • improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and;
  • find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration.

This vision launched an effort to share the world’s information via library collaboration—first in Ohio, then across North America and today in 109 countries. The first step was to combine technology with library cooperation through shared, computerized cataloging. Today, the OCLC cooperative helps libraries define their place in the digital world with new cloud-based services that amplify and extend library collections and resources.