OCLC Governance Study

OCLC Invites Input to Governance Review

Please see the following Governance Study Letter from OCLC:

A Review of OCLC Governance Arrangements

In February 2007 the Board of Trustees of OCLC authorized a review of its governance; the review will be supervised by a governance study committee consisting of current and past trustees and delegates to Members Council. This brief note summarizes how the review will be conducted, and is being made available to all members of OCLC.

The review includes governance issues related to the Board of Trustees, as well as the Members Council and its sub-committees. The formal goals as set by the OCLC Board are to:

•    Draw on the research and analyses done by OCLC and others to understand the environmental factors likely to have an impact on libraries, other cultural heritage institutions, and OCLC into the coming decade.
•    Review and evaluate the current and alternative governance forms for OCLC.
•    Recommend a governance structure appropriate to the roles that OCLC is expected to carry out in the next decade.

The review is being conducted by The Higher Education Consultancy Group (HECG) based in the UK, an appropriate development in the light of the international role now played by OCLC. The study is being led by their CEO - Allan Schofield. The HECG is a small specialist consultancy working in higher education and the not-for-profit sector, and has extensive international experience.

The first meeting of the Governance Study committee took place in Dublin, OH, on Saturday, 19 May, just before the Members Council meeting. A principal goal of the committee was to ensure that all members of the committee and the consultants had a good shared understanding of the purposes and scope of the study, the role of the committee in relation to the Board of Trustees, and the way forward to reach our goal of delivering a final report to the OCLC Board in November 2007. The meeting also provided the opportunity to review the origins of the current OCLC governance structure and OCLC’s strategic directions. A brief report was subsequently given to the Members Council by Betsy Wilson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, William Crowe, Chair of the Governance Study committee, and Allan Schofield, principal consultant.

Both the consultants and OCLC are anxious to ensure wide consultation about the study, and a specific invitation will be sent to all delegates to the Members Council inviting them to submit contributions to the study. One of the consultants (Professor Colin Harris) will also be attending the ALA meeting in Washington in late June where he will be holding discussions with those OCLC Network Directors and others who are attending and wish to meet him.

However, it is recognized that some OCLC members not involved in the Members Council may also want to contribute to the review, although there is no requirement for them to do so. Any contributions should be sent to Allan Schofield at as@oclcstudy.powernet.co.uk by the deadline of Friday 20 July 2007. All submissions will be treated in confidence unless respondents explicitly indicate that they are happy for the committee to see their comments. It is important that any responses should be solely about issues relevant to governance and the terms of reference for the study; the consultants are not seeking submissions on broader issues outside their terms of reference, for example OCLC services etc.

Further information about the review can be obtained from: George M. Needham, Vice President, Member Services, OCLC, e-mail: needhamg@oclc.org

[11 Jun 2007]