Mary Yost Editor @ceo_editor
Skip Prichard loves books, but he’s not adverse to sharing information in digital 1s and 0s.
Professionally, Prichard is the president and CEO of Dublin-based OCLC, which boasts the world’s largest database about library collections and also maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
Personally, Prichard says he reads “at least a book a day. I don’t sleep much; I read.” He shares much of what he learns along with author interviews via his “Leadership Insights” blog. He also has a book coming out in February titled “The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future.”
Prichard talked with Columbus CEO about his work and passion for sharing ideas.
Q: What does OCLC do?
A: We’re not a business-to-consumer brand, so you may not have heard of us, but we are really a backbone for libraries. We’re a global technology organization that serves libraries. We serve them in 124 different countries. We have thousands and thousands of members, whether it’s through data or technology, we serve them in a variety of ways. … We also are the publisher of the Dewey Decimal System. So we have this historical perspective with Dewey and then we have this forward-thinking — most of our business — on future technology in libraries, and that creates a very interesting set of data and technologies to support libraries in the 21st century.
Q: Why was OCLC created and how has it evolved?
A: Initially it was the mission of Ohio university presidents to pool resources and to work in a system that was more collaborative within the state, and that evolved over time to become a regional and then a national and then a global hub for information. Today, the information you’re looking for may be just as relevant if it was published in Thailand. … You may find something in the Middle East or something in Europe; wherever that information is. If you’re doing research or you’re doing something in a library looking for information, you want an answer. You don’t care where it came from; you just want to get that answer. We facilitate the getting and using of information through libraries or through the web, back to the library.
Q: How does OCLC serve libraries?
A: We power tens of thousands of libraries around the world in various ways, through data and technology, and I think most people in Columbus don’t know that the largest library global organization is here in their backyard, serving libraries all over the world, and that the type of library that may be served is also incredibly wide-ranging. We often think of public libraries, you’re thinking of how to access a book, but there’s academic libraries and law libraries, medical libraries, corporate libraries, scientific libraries. We’re involved in all of that. … We’re the world’s largest library cooperative. In terms of library cooperation, that’s what we do. That’s how we started. That’s in our DNA. We really help libraries do what they couldn’t do individually but they can do collectively.
Q: How is OCLC supported?
A: We sell subscriptions and services to libraries, and that is how we fund our business. It is a not-for-profit global software and data business, and it has been that way since we were founded.
Q: Does your leadership blog relate to your work at OCLC?
A: I started that blog as a way to share ideas and inspiration and information. I meet and talk to a variety of people. I’m a big reader. I read at least a book a day. I don’t sleep much; I read. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to all grow together. I may not agree even with everything that I share, but I share ideas that other people are bringing forward and we can all grow together. My mission is always looking at potential, and closing that potential. … That site is a way to help you work on you, not just on your job. I find it extraordinarily motivating to do that, so sure, hold me accountable to what I’m saying, and vice versa. Together, we will all grow. I’ve written a lot on servant leadership, and that’s the way I like to lead, through service, through serving others; through serving our members and our community and our customers, through serving employees. If we all serve each other, everybody gets better and better.
Source : http://www.dispatch.com/news/20171125/qampa-skip-prichard-oclc-chief-invested-in-sharing-knowledge-leadership-skills