RFP: Pathways to Inclusion

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1022

The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) is seeking an experienced individual or team to lead a research project aligned with our current strategic plan and initiative. 

Project Name:

Pathways to Inclusion: Strategies for Diverse Library Workforce Development 

Project Managers:

Sarah Sogigian, Executive Director, and Amanda Fauver, BiblioTemps® and Membership Manager

Summary of Work:

The purpose of this project is to identify ways both MLS (as an employer of Library workers i.e. BiblioTemps®) and other employers of library workers can increase the appeal and accessibility of a career in libraries to individuals from underrepresented groups.  

Acknowledgement of Results:

We acknowledge that MLS’ role in the library ecosystem is to share and provide guidance to our membership. We hope this work will help us present this information to our members and stakeholders.

Background and Objectives:

The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) will undertake a research study aimed at identifying and implementing effective strategies to encourage individuals from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in librarianship. We seek proposals from qualified research firms, academic institutions, or consultants to lead this exploration and provide actionable recommendations. In conjunction with the MLS 2021 – 2026 Strategic Plan, this project will support our goal of encouraging individuals from underrepresented communities to pursue fulfilling careers in librarianship.

Scope of Work: 

The selected research team will be tasked with exploring ways to promote diversity and inclusion within the field of librarianship, with a focus on attracting individuals from underrepresented communities. The study should address the following key areas: 

  • Identify Underrepresented groups: 
    • Engage with collaborators to identify and define underrepresented groups in the library field. 
  • Understanding Barriers: 
    • Investigate existing barriers and challenges that individuals from underrepresented communities may face when considering a career in librarianship. 
    • Analyze the impact of current practices in recruitment, hiring, and professional development on diverse participation in the field. 
  • Best Practices and Success Stories: 
    • Research and compile best practices from libraries or organizations that have successfully encouraged diversity in librarianship. 
    • Highlight success stories and case studies that demonstrate effective strategies for attracting and retaining talent from underrepresented backgrounds. 
  • Community Engagement: 
    • Develop strategies for actively engaging with underrepresented communities to understand their perceptions, aspirations, and concerns related to careers in librarianship. 
    • Propose professional community-driven initiatives that align with the goal of encouraging diverse individuals to consider and pursue library careers. 
  • Collaborations: 
    • Identify potential collaborations and alliances with community organizations, educational institutions, and other stakeholders to strengthen outreach efforts. 
    • Propose ways MLS can work collectively with statewide organizations to amplify the impact of initiatives aimed at diversifying the librarianship workforce.

Methodology: 

The research team should outline a community-centered and participatory methodology that may include, but is not limited to:

  • Community surveys, focus groups, or interviews that gather insights directly from individuals within underrepresented communities and library employers. 
  • A literature review of successful diversity and inclusion initiatives in librarianship and related fields. 
  • Collaboration with community leaders and organizations to inform the research process. 

Deliverables: 

The selected research team is expected to provide the following deliverables: 

  • A comprehensive research plan outlining the approach, timeline, and methods. 
  • Interim progress reports at key milestones. 
  • A final report with actionable recommendations, including strategies for MLS and statewide organizations to implement. 
  • A product (e.g., toolbox, kit, training series) we can share with our members and stakeholders.  

Timeline: (tentative)

  • Proposal submission deadline: extended to May 10, 2024 
  • Discussion and selection of proposals for additional review: May 17, 2024 
  • Selection of proposal: Finalized by May 24, 2024 

We hope that the project can be completed within six months and expect the work to begin in September 2024. However, the final project timeframe will be considered with input from the selected research team. 

Budget and Timeframe: 

The budget for this project is flexible and will be evaluated based on the proposed approach, scope, and deliverables. We expect the recipient will conduct an environmental scan, interviews, focus groups, and research related to the topic, create a product in response (if appropriate), and provide suggestions to MLS for next steps.  

The budget will be inclusive of work, travel-related expenses, and the design and dissemination of the final report and product. 

Submission Requirements: 

  • Statement of interest in the form of a cover letter. 
  • A brief outline of a project plan, anticipated deliverables, and proposed timeline. 
  • Resume(s) of the consultant or team who will work on the project. 
  • Three references related to work on similar projects.
  • Price quote inclusive of all costs including travel and any reimbursable expenses. 

Submissions are due by May 10, 2024, at 5:00 PM and should be submitted by email.  
Subject Line – Pathways Submission 

Email to: Amanda@masslibsystem.org  

For additional information or questions contact:  

Amanda Fauver 
Membership and BiblioTemps Manager
amanda@masslibsystem.org
508-357-2121 ext. 309
Pronouns: she, her, hers 

About the Massachusetts Library System: 

The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit organization. Services are provided through state funds administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), a state agency. The mission of MLS is to “foster cooperation, communication, innovation, and sharing among member libraries of all types”; MLS exists to support and serve the library institutions within Massachusetts.  

The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) was formed in 2010 by the consolidation of six regional library systems. MLS is a membership organization with around 1,600 members. Academic libraries comprise 8% of our total membership, special libraries 12%, public libraries 24%, and school libraries 56%. Special library members represent a large range of institutions including hospitals, correctional institutions, museums, and more. 

Our organization administers and manages a variety of services and programs designed to accomplish its mission. These services include but are not limited to a library delivery service that enables the sharing of over 14 million physical materials between libraries throughout the state every year, online research tools, professional development for library workers, and BiblioTemps® which is an MLS employment service that specializes in the recruitment of skilled library workers for temporary and permanent placements in public, academic, and special libraries. 

Each of our services has an essential role in the daily operations of our member libraries. In accordance with its mission, the Massachusetts Library System also works closely with partner library organizations across the state to promote equitable access to library services and resources for all who live, work, or study in Massachusetts.

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Amanda Fauver is the Membership and BiblioTemps Manager for the Massachusetts Library System. She has worked with MLS for over a decade supporting libraries of all types across the state. Amanda holds a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Suffolk University. Her BA in English is from the University of New Hampshire.