The Complete Guide to RFPs for Libraries
by Frances C. Wilkinson and Sever Bordeianu, Editors
August 2018, 299pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-5939-7
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5940-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Learn how to write a Request for Proposal (RFP) so that you receive your library’s desired materials, resources, and equipment at the lowest price.

This comprehensive book covers the philosophy behind RFPs to prime readers to understand how to most effectively write them and provides instruction on navigating the submission process as it applies to multiple types of libraries.

For many years, only large academic and public libraries and a few library systems regularly used RFPs. Now, smaller schools, public libraries, and library systems use RFPs as tools to select vendors for computer equipment, online systems, databases, and materials. Library consortia frequently use RFPs to select databases and integrated library systems.

In this useful book, readers will learn more about the types and advantages of RFPs; the timelines and logistics for submitting RFPs; how to write different types of RFPs; how to evaluate vendor performance; the transfer process when a new vendor is selected; vendor perspectives; and RFP ethics. An appendix includes sample RFPs and evaluation materials, and a glossary defines language necessary to writing and understanding RFPs.

This book is essential reading for librarians who need to select vendors to provide library materials including books, serials, and media in all formats as well as for those who are choosing integrated library systems, security and inventory systems such as RFID, computer equipment and software, online and streaming materials such as books and music, or services such as digitization.


  • Teaches readers how to acquire an appropriate product from a vendor at the lowest price
  • Provides practical examples of questions to use in various RFPs as well as lessons learned
  • Includes sample RFPs and evaluation materials
  • Incorporates perspectives of librarians and vendors with experience in various aspects of the RFP process
Frances C. Wilkinson is senior associate dean and professor in the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences at the University of New Mexico. She is also administrative director of the Organization, Information & Learning Sciences Program, in which she teaches graduate courses. She is a recipient of the ALA-ALCTS Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award and is author of seven books and more than fifty articles and chapters. Her research interests include leadership, management, organizational development, competitive procurement/the RFP process, acquisitions, disaster preparedness and recovery, and computer ergonomics. She has chaired or served on numerous RFP committees.

Sever Bordeianu is director of technical services, outreach librarian for philosophy/religion and foreign languages, and professor at the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences at the University of New Mexico. He also teaches undergraduate courses in the Organization, Information & Learning Sciences Program. He previously worked at the University of Michigan and UC Irvine. He is author of Outsourcing Library Operations in Academic Libraries: An Overview of Issues and Outcomes and more than thirty articles, and chapters. His research interests include cataloging (serials and authority control), competitive procurement/the RFP process, and collection development.


"This volume should be read by every library vendor and every librarian in the process of contracting for a large purchase for their organization."—Library Journal, Starred Review, December 1, 2018
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