May 17, 2022

Lorcan Dempsey to Retire as OCLC’s Vice President for Research and Membership, and Chief Strategist

Ed. Note: We wish Lorcan the very best in his retirement and at the same time very happy to read he will continue to be active in the library world as a consultant. I am honored to call him a friend. — Gary

Here’s the Full Text of the OCLC Announcement:

Locan Dempsey

Lorcan Dempsey, known globally as a thought leader and strategist for libraries, has announced his plans to retire at the end of April as OCLC’s Vice President for Research and Membership, and Chief Strategist.

Dempsey has served OCLC and its member libraries for over 20 years. During his tenure, he has overseen remarkable growth in the scope of OCLC Research activity, as well as the unification of member relations, WebJunction, and research in the OCLC Membership and Research Division.

Notable achievements during Dempsey’s tenure include the expansion of membership engagement to include a more diverse range of libraries, incorporation of the Research Libraries Group (RLG) into OCLC Research to become the Research Library Partnership, and inclusion of the WebJunction learning platform for public libraries. Dempsey has also provided leadership for OCLC’s membership activities, including management of the organization’s shared governance structure (Regional/Global Councils). Most recently, partnering with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Battelle, his team continues to publish valuable research through the REALM project to help archives, libraries, and museums follow best practices to operate during the pandemic.

“It has truly been an honor to work under the leadership of Skip, and of the many distinguished Board of Trustees members over the 20 years. I have also enjoyed working with the committed and enthusiastic international Global Council membership, and colleagues throughout the organization,” said Dempsey. “I’ve often said that the secret to career success is to work with people who are smarter than you are. I have been very lucky to work with lots of very smart people at OCLC. But more importantly, OCLC is full of people who want to make a difference—to advance libraries and to improve the lives of the people who use them.”

During his distinguished career at OCLC, Dempsey shaped a research agenda that influenced both product directions and the library profession. OCLC Research has done fundamental work to help shape the library conversation on linked data, research support, special collections, public library funding, and user studies. He is credited with introducing key concepts and frameworks to help explain the evolution of library collections and services in the networked era, including “collective collections,” the “inside-out library,” and “workflow is the new content,” among others. His writings, blogging, and presentations during this time have been a major influence on library conversations.

“Lorcan has been an instrumental part of OCLC’s strategic leadership team, and a strong advocate within OCLC for libraries, social concerns, and inclusion,” said Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO. “His deep understanding of global library needs and information science trends has been invaluable to inform our strategic planning. He has also been a major influence on library thinking globally through his writing and speaking engagements. Libraries and OCLC have a life-long friend in Lorcan and we are grateful for his many contributions.”

In the months ahead, Dempsey will work with the OCLC leadership team and partners to ensure a successful transition. He will also work with OCLC in a consulting relationship in the future.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.