With this post we’ll officially re-enter the blogstream. As you may know from other sources including an entry on Lorcan’s blog and one from the All Good folks the four of us are now part of the staff of the RLG Programs group within OCLC. More about that and our excitement about the future in another post. Right now I wanted to explain the silence that Anne, Günter, Merrilee and I imposed on ourselves. As you can imagine the long period of confidential discussion, negotiations and agreement preparation was exhausting for me – emotionally and physically. Those feelings extended to all of us and got more intense after RLG and OCLC announced our intentions at the beginning of May and the combination became a matter for community discussion and speculation.
The announcement also began an acute period of uncertainty about the future for individual RLG staff members. During that time we didn’t think it was appropriate or wise to use this forum as a place to discuss or share events that were underway. Part of that instinct was just sensible discretion – appropriate information about the unfolding events and decisions (like integration plans for RLG services) was being disseminated through official channels. But part of the instinct was to question how useful our thinking would be in the midst of so much activity and emotion. We weren’t denying the emotion and activity. In fact, we needed to invest ourselves fully in it until the circumstances took a definitive shape. At that point we could usefully and thoughtfully consider the future. We’re there now.
Before turning to that future, I think it’s fitting to offer up one final tribute to my former RLG colleagues many of whom (but not nearly all) are now OCLC staff located at the RLG Service Center here in Mountain View. I offered up my thoughts directly to them but let me repeat here the words adopted unanimously by the RLG Board of Directors at the last meeting of the corporation:
We must acknowledge the extraordinary team of professional staff at RLG. They have delivered consistently high quality service and have supported our communities over and over and over again during the 30 years of RLG. We celebrate their accomplishments and we applaud their commitment and just damn hard work. They have lived by a code of fundamental values: integrity, a service orientation, respect for individuals, striving for high quality, a bias to action, and innovative and cost-effective solutions. We as RLG member institutions have benefited enormously, and we thank our RLG colleagues.
James G. Neal, RLG Board Chair
Jim coordinates the OCLC Research office in San Mateo, CA, focuses on relationships with research libraries and work that renovates the library value proposition in the current information environment.