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You are invited to submit a proposal to the Treasure State Academic Information & Library Services (TRAILS) Consortium in accordance with the requirements set forth in the attached request for proposals (RFP).
TRAILS is Montana’s first academic library consortium and consists of twenty-three member institutions, plus the Montana State Library. Our mission is to provide greater access to high-quality e-resources and information resources for all of Montana’s higher education students, faculty, staff, and researchers. In addition to cooperative group contracts, most TRAILS members also share the library service platform Alma/Primo. The consortium is governed by the General Council, which is made up of a library director or dean representing each member library, and depends on eight volunteer committees, and a full-time coordinator for operation.
The consortium was formed in 2016 and consists of all the institutions in the Montana University System (MUS), the state’s seven tribal colleges, four private colleges, and the Montana State Library. Since its inception, TRAILS has increased its vendor joint contracts, professional development offerings (including an annual symposium), and the ability for its members to rely on the shared expertise and knowledge of their colleagues. Members pay an annual membership fee and a small percentage of the coordinator’s salary. The majority of the financial burden for the coordinator’s salary rests with Montana State University (MSU) Library. The MSU Shared Fiscal Services Office also serves as the consortium’s fiscal agent. Although desired, TRAILS has been prevented from becoming a 501(c)(3) because of restrictions that would have been placed on MSU’s ability to contribute to the coordinator’s salary.
Through seven years of successful operation, the consortium has sought financial independence and sustainability. As a result of this need and a general desire to review our operations and structure, TRAILS seeks a consultant to conduct a review of our financial and operational status to develop recommendations for:
• Fiscal sustainability, including moving the primary support for the coordinator’s salary/benefits from MSU to members
• Demonstrating the value of members and of the consortium to administration
• TRAILS member expectations in support of the consortium and associated mission fulfillment
• Comprehensive membership and membership fee structures
• Improved representation, productivity, and efficiency of the governing General Council, committees, and coordinator
• Improved workflows for e-resource management
• Increased ways to share staffing, services, and collections
• Improved use of Alma/Primo features to increase productivity and efficiency
In your response to our RFP please include a letter of intent and submit any questions to Pamela Benjamin, TRAILS Statewide Academic Libraries Coordinator, prior to the due date of March 1, 2023. We anticipate that the provider whose proposal is the best solution for our project will be selected by March 15, 2023.
I will be the single point of contact for all inquiries and correspondences.
On behalf of the TRAILS RFP Committee, we thank you for your interest in our review and analysis project.
Treasure State Academic Information & Library Services
Montana State University Library
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT 59717-3320