- Introduction and context
The lack of representation of diversity within the library workforce, and within managerial and leadership positions in particular, is one of the greatest challenges facing the library sector. Research conducted in 2015 by CILIP highlighted the unrepresentative nature of the library sector workforce compared with wider society, with 97% of the workforce self-identifying as white compared to 88% of the population. CILIP’s research also highlighted the growing leadership challenge amongst libraries, with 45% of the current workforce reaching retirement age by 2030. These findings have been supplemented by additional research and conversations by SCONUL, CILIP, and RLUK. SCONUL is now collecting data on the ethnic make-up of the member workforce via benchmarking stats and has published a report on the experience of BAME staff working in member libraries: https://www.sconul.ac.uk/page/bame-staff-experiences-of-academic-and-research-libraries.
Public, academic, and research libraries become less diverse through the middle and senior levels of their organisational structures. In response to this challenge, key associations and leadership bodies across the UK library sector have come together to explore the development of an Emerging Leaders’ programme for colleagues from ethnically diverse communities from across the library sector.
- About Research Libraries UK (contracting partner)
Research Libraries UK is a consortium of 39 of the UK and Ireland’s leading research libraries whose purpose is to shape the research library agenda and contribute to the wider knowledge economy through innovative projects and services.
RLUK is here to convene its 39 members around the issues that affect them, to represent their collective voice, to support them as they face shared challenges, and to be an effective advocate on their behalf. It is these four roles that define RLUK’s work and around which its membership offer is shaped. They enable RLUK to promote the research library community as a vibrant and integral element of the scholarly landscape.
Although managed by RLUK, this is a collaborative project between six library associations and consortia representing public, academic, and research libraries across the UK. The project partners will be represented in the selection process of the contractor and, in addition to RLUK, include:
- Libraries Connected: is a charity founded in 2018. It builds on 20 years’ experience as The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL). We are now partly funded by Arts Council England as the Sector Support Organisation for public libraries in England but we are proud to remain a membership organisation comprised of every library service in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Crown Dependencies.
- Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP): is the leading voice for the information, knowledge management and library profession. We’re here for everyone who has a professional connection to information, knowledge, data and libraries, and shares our belief in their power to change lives.
- Society of College, National, and University Libraries (SCONUL): represents all university libraries in the UK and Ireland, irrespective of mission group, as well as national libraries and many libraries with collections of national significance. SCONUL has 182 members.
- Wales Higher Education Library Forum (WHELF): is a grouping of Chief Librarians and Directors of Information Services drawn from all the higher education institutions in Wales along with the National Library of Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, Natural Resources Wales and the Open University in Wales.
- Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL): is a membership body that supports service development and improvement across Scotland’s university and research libraries. Our key areas of work are coordination, collaboration and advocacy.
- Project specification
This scoping study will investigate the potential of a transformative and sustainable Emerging Leaders programme for colleagues from ethnically diverse communities working within the library sector. In particular, it will interrogate whether the Leading Libraries programme, recently delivered by Libraries Connected, the University of Birmingham Leadership Institute, and CILIP, and supported by Arts Council England, provides an appropriate blueprint for a cross-sector programme, and whether any adaptations would be required.
Through a series of library sector surveys, interviews, focus groups, and desk research, the scoping study will:
- Establish the appetite for a cross-sector programme amongst members of ethnically diverse communities across the library sector, through engagement, surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
- Establish the cross-sector institutional appetite amongst libraries for the development and delivery of an Emerging Leaders programme, including possible financial contributions from participating institutions and levels of available institutional match funding.
- Establish the potential transformative effect of an Emerging Leaders programme on individuals and institutions, and place diversifying leadership within the wider context of organisational cultural change, recruitment practices, and career pathways.
- Evaluate and interrogate the Leading Libraries programme as a blueprint for a cross-sector Emerging Leaders programme and identify adaptations required to enhance its potential as a cross-sector programme.
- Place the programme within the wider context of other leadership programmes, including within individual institutions and sectorally, and to identify any lessons learnt that this programme might benefit from.
- Examine and determine the secondary benefits of developing a cross-sector, sustainable programme in enabling cross-sector knowledge sharing and collaboration between public, academic, specialist and research libraries.
- Identify opportunities within the programme’s development and delivery to ‘hard wire’ cross-working between public, academic, and research libraries, and the opportunities for enhanced learning from one another in their leadership and institutional development.
- Identify additional stakeholders who would be pertinent partners in the development and delivery of the programme, including from beyond the library sector.
- Produce a blueprint for a cross-sector Emerging Leaders programme, including in relation to the programme’s structure, duration, governance, and funding.
- Identify the resource requirements for a transformative cross-sector Emerging Leaders programme for the partners, participating institutions, and the availability of external funding sources to support its development and delivery.
- Key audiences
In order to get an overarching picture of the potential of academic and research libraries as partners in, and leaders of, scholarly research, and the extent of any barriers currently preventing them from being so, this scoping study will have several key audiences, with which the appointed contractors will need to engage:
- POTENTIAL APPLICANTS: members of ethnically diverse communities working across the library and information sectors.
- EXISTING LEADERS: of library services, whether public, academic, or research regarding the value and potential of an Emerging Leaders programme and their own engagement with this.
- PUBLIC LIBRARIES: regarding their institutional appetite to engage with an Emerging Leaders programme and how this would relate to their own institutional programmes and initiatives to diversify library leadership.
- ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES: regarding their institutional appetite to engage with an Emerging Leaders programme and how this would relate to their own institutional programmes and initiatives to diversify library leadership.
- STAKEHOLDERS: organisations across the wider library and information sector, both within the UK and nationally, who have had experience of developing and delivering diverse leadership programmes.
- Key deliverables
This is a highly ambitious research project which will inform the potential development of a transformative leadership programme for members of ethnically diverse communities working across the library sector. Representatives from the six partner organisations will actively work with the contractor appointed to support and enable the research process through providing access to key networks, groups of colleagues, and contacts. The contractor will be provided with a list of key contacts, groups, and existing research on their appointment.
Owing to the ambitious chronology and scope of this work, a series of key deliverables are given below.
Key deliverable 1: A blueprint of a cross-sector Emerging Leaders programme, using the Leading Libraries programme as a baseline.
- The suitability of Leading Libraries as a model for the development and delivery of a cross-sector, sustainable Emerging Leaders programme.
- Resource requirements, costs, and potential partners for a cross-sector programme modelled on Leading Libraries.
- Recommendations of suitable governance models and key features of a programme, with suggestions for their implementation.
Key deliverable 2: A written report of how this blueprint has been arrived at and an analysis of the sector’s appetite, capacity, and ambition around such a programme. The report also considers other institutional and sectoral leadership programmes, and any lessons learnt from these.
Key deliverable 3: Anonymised survey data to inform the development of a full programme.
Key deliverable 4: A stakeholder map of key bodies and funders with an interest in this space, with which the partners might engage in the programme’s development.
Key deliverable 5: A set of concise and implementable recommendations regarding next steps to develop a full sustainable and equitable programme and sources of external funding to enable this.
These deliverables will be presented at the end of the contract period in the form of a report. This is to include the analysis of data and research results, and a list of recommendations for implementation. We would also expect the contractor to present the finding at a suitable event identified by the project partners.
The scoping study report will be the intellectual property of the creating contractor, who will agree to provide this under a CC-BY licence.
Below is a timetable of the potential project milestones for the scoping study.
Invitation to tender published 28 November 2022
Deadline for responses 9 January 2023
Supplier interviews Week of 23 January 2023
Contract Award 30 January 2023
Project Completion 1 August 2023
The maximum available budget for the delivery of this project is £30,000 excluding VAT.
- Evaluation Criteria
Tender submissions will be evaluated on a combination of price (20%), familiarity with the library and information sectors (25%), familiarity and experience in relation to leadership programmes, especially those with a strong emphasis on diversity (25%), and quality of response (30%).
Please respond to this opportunity by:
- Project specification: Describe how you would meet the requirements described in the Project Specification including any additional approaches or methodologies you might utilise in order to attract a large number of respondents from a variety of backgrounds and institutions.
- Experience: Provide relevant evidence of your research experience and expertise, including details of relevant projects successfully completed in the past 2 years. This should include your experience of working with the key project audiences. You should provide details of the team that would work on this project (including biogs) with a clear description of who would be responsible for which pieces of work within the project.
- Key deliverables: Provide an outline of how you will deliver the project within the timeframe of the project.
- Working practice and communication: Provide an outline of how you would ensure good communication and close working with RLUK and partners throughout the project. Also, evidence awareness of and sensitivity to the challenges encountered by the intended audiences of the programme. You should describe the ethical framework in which you will handle any personal data and ensure data security
- Cost: Providing a total price for you to deliver the project.
- Key dates and contacts
Please submit your proposal to David Prosser (email@example.com) by 17:00 on 9 January 2023
Please submit any clarification questions to David Prosser (firstname.lastname@example.org)