Request for Proposal: The State of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in CARL Libraries 2021

November 5, 2020 – The Canadian Association of Research Libraries / Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada (CARL) wishes to conduct a diversity and inclusion study of, and for, its members. (Click here for a PDF of the Request for Proposal below)

About CARL

CARL is a not-for-profit leadership organization for the Canadian research library community. The Association’s members include the 31 largest academic and national research libraries across Canada.

CARL enhances its members’ capacity to advance research and higher education; promotes effective and sustainable knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation; and advocates for public policy that enables broad access to scholarly information.


CARL wishes to gather baseline data on the composition of personnel in CARL institutions and to establish a set of benchmarks against which to evaluate and measure the impact of CARL libraries’ strategies and practices with respect to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in areas such as recruitment, retention, promotion, leadership, organizational culture and policy.  Progress could then be measured through the conduct of the same or a comparable study in 3-5 years time.

The study aims to provide a comprehensive picture of demographic representation and locational differences in CARL libraries and institutions and will help to gauge employee feedback on EDI interventions and implementations at their libraries and institutions. Since this is the first study, results will help CARL and its member institutions to identify systemic barriers, create and implement tailored EDI strategies to benefit each organization and the overall workforce in Canadian research libraries, and understand the lived experiences of this workforce in order to foster greater engagement.

Future studies can help assess EDI gaps at CARL libraries, the success of diversity initiatives, challenges, and deviations from EDI strategy creation and implementations.

Although many colleges and universities are lately focused on EDI work, CARL libraries, with data from the survey and derived suggestions for EDI in the future, can lead academia to promote and advance all their diverse employees. Without an understanding of the diversity landscape in Canadian research libraries, improvements to equity, diversity, and inclusion cannot be targeted to specific areas.

Study Methodology

The study is expected to entail the design, administration, analysis and reporting of results of an online bilingual survey, as well as project management and communications support.

To encourage participation, we foresee a relatively short and clearly anonymous survey offered in both official languages that will cover all dimensions of diversity and gather a range of perceptions of inclusion and equity at respondents’ home institutions. (See CARL definitions of equity, diversity and inclusion). If no prior testing has been conducted, questions may need to be piloted in both official languages to ensure correct local terminology is used and that questions are being understood in the same way by both groups.

The methodology must permit both institutional and national data analysis and aggregation–while protecting the privacy of respondents–to document the current demographic representation within institutions, to allow comparison among CARL’s member institutions, and to present a national aggregate profile.

The survey will be distributed to all staff of CARL’s member libraries (approximately 5,000-6,000 individuals) via the library directors.

All data collected and reports produced would be owned by CARL with appropriate attribution to the consultant organization. Data collected should be housed within Canada to ensure they are protected under Canadian privacy legislation.

Additional or alternative research methods may be proposed.


CARL requires the following information from the individuals or firms responding to this RFP:

  • Responding company name including key contact person(s)
  • Company address and contact information
  • Short history of firm (if applicable)
  • A summary, in brief narrative form, of the services that the firm offers that relate to those sought by CARL; the firm’s philosophy of service, especially as directed to small not-for-profit organizations; and any special qualifications or strengths that the firm can bring to meeting CARL’s needs, including experience with clients from research, education, cultural industries or other sectors that have interests analogous to those of CARL;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Canadian diversity, inclusion and equity characteristics;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of statistical methods, software and best practices;
  • Detailed description of services that will be provided, including survey design, administration, support and reporting in both official languages, as well as the dissemination of aggregated results to participating institutions.
  • Estimated cost of the project with the schedule of fees, which may be by hour, by service, or a flat fee; if the latter, the intended typical amount and kinds of services to be provided.
  • Two references based on comparable work performed for comparable organizations.

Request for Proposal

This is a request for proposal (RFP) and not an invitation to tender.  The reader is hereby advised that:

  • CARL reserves the right to reject any or all responses to this Request for Proposal
  • CARL reserves the right to ask for clarifications on the proposal if it believes necessary.
  • CARL reserves the right to cancel the award of contract any time before the execution of the contract by both parties.
  • Responding consultants bear sole risk and responsibility for costs incurred in the preparation and provision of their proposal.

The reader of this RFP is also advised that the information contained in this document and appendices is proprietary to CARL and may not be divulged to any third party.

Key dates

Proposal due: November 20, 2020
Contract awarded: November 27, 2020
The work would ideally commence in December 2020.

Key contact

Susan Haigh, Executive Director
Canadian Association of Research Libraries
613-482-9344 x101

Proposals should be sent as a PDF file to Susan Haigh at the e-mail address above by 5:00 p.m on November 20, 2020.