United States

  • English

Benefits of membership

Any library, museum or archive that embraces the OCLC values of collaboration and sharing is welcome to join the cooperative. Institutions worldwide become members of OCLC by contractually agreeing to contribute intellectual content or share resources. Our cooperative is strengthened by our membership's diversity, such as geographical, institutional type, or size. Your OCLC membership benefits libraries in many ways:

A global network dedicated to enhancing your local relevance through cooperation

By joining OCLC, your library becomes part of a unique global cooperative that builds and enhances library services for information seekers worldwide. This cooperative advocates and promotes library usage, and shapes the future of librarianship and information science. You and other members share a commitment to research, scholarship and education, and the enduring values of cooperation, resource sharing and public service. As a member, you also play a key role in a global mission: improving access to the world's information.

For 40 years, member cooperation has enabled OCLC to develop build services targeted solely at strengthening library services. The ability to listen and respond to member needs was a key element in the cooperative's early success in cataloging. It still is today, as OCLC and member libraries renew and reinvent their value in a Web world.

Collaborative savings through shared services

Your library accomplishes more by working with other libraries. By sharing resources and data, you save money and build cooperative solutions that improve productivity and streamline operations, like cataloging, collection development, archiving and reference activities. These efforts enrich and sustain the flow of knowledge to diverse information seekers in a networked world.

WorldCat: record growth through library cooperation

WorldCat illustrates the potential of cooperation and honors the collaborative spirit of libraries. WorldCat is the foundation of many OCLC services, including WorldCat Local, WorldCat Resource Sharing and the FirstSearch reference service. Originally a union catalog, WorldCat is available on the Web at WorldCat.org, where information seekers can find library resources more easily.

Thousands of libraries, including yours, have built WorldCat into the world's foremost bibliographic database. Representing these libraries' collections, WorldCat contains over 328 million records and 2 billion holding locations. It spans over 6,000 years of recorded knowledge and 485 languages. And it keeps growing: every second, member libraries add seven records to WorldCat. In short, WorldCat has become a unique global resource highly valued by scholars, researchers and Web searchers.

Promoting library resources and expertise on the Web

Through WorldCat.org, your cooperative is experimenting with models for integrating the collections and services of member libraries into the consumer Web space to reach people who typically turn first to their Web browser—not their libraries—for information. Partnerships with Google, Yahoo! and other Internet companies put library records and holdings in the results lists of search engines, online bibliographies and online booksellers, which helps drive traffic to libraries—on average, about 700,000 times per month.

New partnerships are in development with cellular phone providers and others to grow the reach and impact of library services through mobile devices. All of these partnerships are an important step in creating increased value by for members by advancing the mission of libraries.

Shaping the future with library-centered research

The OCLC Research team studies information technology and identifies technical advances that will help libraries, archives and museums deal with the rapidly changing digital, global community. This team also participates in national and international standards bodies, representing the interests of the library community. Over the past decade, your cooperative has invested more than $130 million to develop new solutions for the changing needs of libraries. In addition, OCLC also publishes special market research reports for the membership that discuss trends affecting libraries and other institutions.

Advancing the profession through scholarships, fellowships and initiatives

Your cooperative promotes the evolution of libraries by providing opportunities for leadership and continuing education. Member libraries have an active voice and formal role in the governance of OCLC through Global and Regional Councils. Through the cooperative, you have opportunities to learn from industry leaders, dialogue with OCLC leadership and guide OCLC's future directions.

OCLC partners with several US regional library networks that provide ongoing training for OCLC services. OCLC also provides career development opportunities, including research grants, the IFLA Fellows Program and the Library and Information Science Education Program.

Interested in becoming an OCLC member?

Send an e-mail to membership@oclc.org.