Request for Proposals: RBS Organizational Wellness Check

Organizational Background

Rare Book School (RBS) at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville) is an independent, non-profit, and tax-exempt institute supporting the study of the history of books and printing and related subjects.  Although affiliated with the University of Virginia (UVA), and resident on its grounds, RBS is governed by its own board of directors and is largely self-funded. Its mission is to strengthen global communities of the book and advance the study of cultural heritage.

RBS provides innovative and outstanding educational opportunities to study the history, care, and use of written, printed, and digital materials in about 40 five-day, non-credit courses per year. The majority of courses take place in Charlottesville, but other course locations include New York City, Philadelphia, Bloomington (Indiana), New Haven, and Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1983, RBS moved to its present home at the University of Virginia in 1992, where it is celebrating its 40th anniversary year and finishing a multiyear endowment campaign, “Bound for the Future.”  An exciting physical transition back into the newly renovated main UVA Library happens in 2023.

Request for Proposal

The Board of Trustees for RBS is commissioning a third-party, organizational “wellness check” and is seeking consulting parties who will work closely with the board, staff, and program participants to help answer the following questions:

  • Mission/Vision Alignment: How well are our programs aligned with our mission and vision? Are we successfully strengthening global communities of the book and advancing cultural heritage?
  • Advocacy: Are we appropriately positioned with partner and funding institutions to make significant contributions to our field? Beyond staff efforts, are board members and participants positioned to extend this advocacy?
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Are we effectively supporting an increasingly diverse and inclusive faculty? How relevant are the curriculum and collections to students from many backgrounds and interest areas?
  • Education: How successful are we at helping students, librarians, and booksellers meet their personal or institutional goals in continuing education?
  • Communications: How effective are our communications in expanding our reach to new audiences? Are we growing a community of followers who participate in our in-person and online offerings?
  • Accessibility: Are we providing scholarship funds and adequate interpersonal support to meet the needs of a diverse array of students?
  • Finance: How sound is the budget model and sources of funding, and is risk managed appropriately in the investment portfolio?
  • Sustainability: Are sufficient financial assets and human resources in place to help support the mission for the next five to seven years?

In terms of access, RBS will require at least one intensive week with access to staff and facilities in Charlottesville, as well as Zoom consultations with nationwide program participants and a special committee of the board of trustees. Successful applicants will propose a brief methodology for the wellness check, a work schedule focused on the autumn of 2023, and a statement of fees including travel. On completion, a written report of the organizational wellness check is required by 15 December 2023.

Seeking proposals in the $10,000-$20,000 range. Please contact and submit proposals to RBS Board Chair Scott Clemons at
rbs-chair[at]virginia[dot]edu by Friday, 22 September.