Janet Lees, OCLC Europe, the Middle East and Africa Community Liaison, has announced plans to retire after 31 years with the worldwide library cooperative.
Ms. Lees was among the first OCLC employees to be based outside the United States. She helped establish the OCLC office in Birmingham, England, joining the organization in January 1982. She was instrumental in making OCLC relevant in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Ms. Lees developed mutually beneficial relationships with libraries, cooperatives and other institutions across Europe and into the Middle East and Africa. She helped create longstanding relationships between OCLC and a number of distributors, including DBC (Denmark), DOC6 (Spain), IFnet (Italy), ITS (Eastern Europe) and particularly SABINET in South Africa, which helped bring many national groups of libraries into WorldCat and OCLC membership.
Ms. Lees served as Managing Director of OCLC EMEA from 1996 until 2002. After OCLC completed its merger with PICA that year, she was named Director of Sales for the combined operation. She served in that position until becoming Community Liaison for EMEA in January 2005.
“Janet Lees is widely respected in the library community for the depth and breadth of her knowledge and experience, as well as her generosity in sharing that knowledge,” said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. “She played a major role in creating and supporting the OCLC regional council structure that was introduced in 2008. She has worked tirelessly to inspire a commitment to membership in EMEA libraries, and has seen participation in the OCLC cooperative and in regional elections grow substantially over the years. We are grateful to Janet for her outstanding, dedicated service to OCLC and libraries worldwide.”
During her tenure, Ms. Lees has attended 19 IFLA conferences and visited 45 countries on behalf of OCLC.