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OCLC Board launches Governance Study

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The OCLC Board of Trustees has appointed a special Governance Study Committee to conduct a study of OCLC’s governance structure. The Board will also retain a consulting firm to assist the committee in the study.

“As OCLC becomes an increasingly global cooperative, we need to adjust our governance to ensure representation and participation by our members around the world,” said Lizabeth Wilson, Chair, OCLC Board of Trustees, and Dean of University Libraries, University of Washington. “This study will review and evaluate current and alternative governance forms for OCLC. The Committee will recommend a governance structure appropriate to the roles that OCLC is expected to carry out in the next decade.”

The Chair of the Governance Study Committee is William J. Crowe, Spencer Librarian, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas. Members of the committee are: Brad Baker, Dean of Libraries and Learning Resources, Northeastern Illinois University; Berndt Dugall, Director/Librarian, University of Frankfurt, Germany; Barbara A. B. Gubbin, Director, Jacksonville Public Library, Florida; Vickie Hanawalt, College Librarian, Reed College Library; Marshall Keys, Nantucket, Massachusetts; Loretta Parham, Library Director/CEO, The Atlanta University Center, Atlanta, Georgia; Jane Ryland, Membership Consultant, Internet2; and Sandy Yee, Dean of Libraries, Wayne State University. George Needham, Vice President, Member Services, OCLC, is the OCLC staff liaison.

“The governance study is on a fast track,” said Mr. Crowe. “Our goal is to submit recommendations to the Board in November 2007. The Board will then forward to the Members Council any proposed changes to the governance. The Council will discuss them at its February 2008 meeting and act on them at the May meeting, with any modifications to take effect on July 1, 2008.”

OCLC’s present governance structure, which was adopted in 1977 and last modified in 2001, consists of Governing Members, Members Council and the Board of Trustees. Governing Members are those institutions that contribute all their current cataloging to the WorldCat database. As of February 28, 2007, there were 9,702 Governing Members.

There are now 13 Members Council delegates elected from outside the United States. In fiscal 2006, revenues from non-U.S. operations were 22 percent of total revenues of $208.4 million, compared with 9 percent of total revenues in 2000, when OCLC’s governance was last reviewed.
In the past three years, OCLC has processed approximately 22 million records from non-U.S. libraries for loading into WorldCat and is scheduled to process some 70 million additional records in the coming year. Most of these records are being added through agreements with national libraries.

Governing members elect 66 delegates to the OCLC Members Council. Currently, the apportionment of delegates among networks and service centers is based on cataloging and resource sharing activity. The Members Council meets three times a year to provide advice and counsel to OCLC; its principal governance responsibilities are to elect six members of the OCLC Board of Trustees and to ratify changes in the articles of incorporation and code of regulations of OCLC.

The 15-member OCLC Board of Trustees has fiduciary and policy-setting responsibility for the corporation. Six trustees are elected by the Members Council, eight are elected by the board itself, and the president and chief executive officer of OCLC serves as a trustee by virtue of the office. Three of the eight trustees elected by the board must be members of the library profession.

-from OCLC

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