Expand horizons with diversity and inclusion

I shared earlier this month that we were once again ranked first in Computerworld’s “Best Places to Work in IT.” Among midsize companies globally, we’re in the top ten for IT growth and in the top position for benefits and diversity strategy programs. By focusing on technology, staff, and diversity, we can deliver better results for OCLC member libraries.

In my last post, I shared how our focus on technology and staff enables us to continuously innovate and more than occasionally transform how libraries work and serve their users. Now I’d like to talk a bit more about how nurturing an inclusive and diverse culture takes us even further.

Diversity positively impacts OCLC products

As we commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I want to share some of the ways we apply a diversity lens to the products and services that we develop for libraries. For example, as the steward of WorldCat, the largest collection of library information in the world, we take its diversity role very seriously. And we know that the right technology can support libraries to be more inclusive when this vital work is done collaboratively. Some recent examples include:

  • Automatic updating of tens of thousands of bibliographic records to remove harmful subject matter language as changes are introduced to LCSH classifications.
  • The ability for individual libraries to display alternative subject headings based on local norms and community needs.
  • Ongoing updates to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), including changes like a new organization for autism spectrum disorder (as the umbrella term), gender dysphoria, and style changes for the terms Black people and White people. The DDC benefits from a ten-member editorial committee led jointly by OCLC and the American Library Association.
  • Our linked data ontology has been designed to avoid harmful or discriminatory characterizations and to guide people in its appropriate use based on extensive collaboration with library community leaders.
  • Choreo Insights, launched in 2023, uses WorldCat data to enable libraries to identify collection issues as a starting point for remediation programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • WorldCat.org where we continue to elevate diverse collections and increase open visibility to the world’s libraries. Be sure to peruse the curated collections honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy.

Diversity is everyone’s job, all the time

Products that support library diversity efforts do not just happen. At OCLC, we have introduced a variety of tools, training, education, and other learning opportunities designed to expand the diversity of our workforce as well as support our current staff on our DEI journey. Some of these include:

  • A diversity referral bonus that doubles the referral bonus when someone is hired from an underrepresented group.
  • Training courses, including guidance for how to manage an inclusive team.
  • DEI topics through Workday Learning with nearly 100 related courses.
  • Support for membership and leadership within programs such as Dublin Leadership Academy, Leadership in Dublin, United Way Project Diversity, PRIDE Leadership programs, and the Junior League Leadership & Lattes programs.

We also focus attention on diversity in how we hire and recruit. This includes:

  • A global talent acquisitions toolkit with guidance to recognize and address bias during the interview process and to identify diversity gaps within teams.
  • Tech bootcamp partnerships with organizations like Tech Elevator, We Can Code IT, Color Coded Labs, and Per Scholas that focus on nontraditional IT graduates and underrepresented groups.
  • A brand ambassador program that increases awareness of careers at OCLC within professional organizations such as Black Tech Columbus and Black Data Processing Associates that serve communities currently underrepresented at OCLC.
  • HBCU and HSI partnerships that create awareness and exposure for openings at OCLC through, among other activities, diversity internship programs, professional roles, and alumni networks.
  • Technical conferences and outreach where we sponsor events to connect with top technical talent. Stir Trek, CodeMash, Society of Women Engineers, Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing (OCWiC), GetWITit, and Women in Technology are some of the events OCLC sponsors to help recruit, promote, and develop female and BIPOC leaders within the technology space.
  • Membership in organizations such as the Columbus Women’s Commission initiative (The Columbus Commitment) and Ohio Business Competes, a nonpartisan coalition of businesses committed to achieving LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies at the state level.

OCLC also sponsors internships with the goal of hiring from diverse and underrepresented groups. And retention and placement for full-time roles after graduation remains very high.

Long-term commitment to success through diversity

I firmly believe that learning about, respecting, and developing diversity in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do. It also leads to better results. Our commitment is, and should always be, to design and deliver library services that are welcoming to and worthy of the diverse communities we represent. And I believe that when we include more diverse voices, we expand not only today’s success, but the edges of even greater and more inspiring horizons.