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Request for Qualifications: OCLC WebJunction Study

Request for Qualifications

Associate Research Consultant for the project,

Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Epidemic with Their Community


Submission deadline: Please provide requested qualifications to Kendra Morgan via email by 5:00 PM (Pacific) on Friday, July 20, 2018. Questions or clarifications are welcome prior to submission.

Organizational Summary

Founded in 1967, OCLC is a global nonprofit library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large. We are librarians, technologists, researchers, pioneers, leaders and learners. With 16,000+ library members in more than 100 countries, we come together as OCLC to make information more accessible and more useful.

Whether we're supporting advancements on the leading edge of science or helping children build a strong learning foundation, shared knowledge is the common thread. People can find the answers they need to solve important problems in their lives, in their communities and in the world. Together we make breakthroughs possible.

We have greater impact when we work together to champion libraries and increase their visibility. OCLC has a long history of creating, testing and scaling programs that promote libraries and librarianship. WebJunction is OCLC's flagship public library program (managed by OCLC Research), and provides online resources, programming and learning opportunities that build the knowledge, skills and confidence public library staff need to power relevant, vibrant libraries. WebJunction resources are openly available to all professional, paraprofessional and volunteer library staff with access to the internet. WebJunction designs and delivers transformational programs for public libraries that address community needs such as lifelong learning, health and wellness, and economic success. More than 70% of all U.S. public libraries across all 50 states have participated in WebJunction programs and learning since 2003.

Project Summary: Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Epidemic with Their Community

Contingent upon receiving a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, in partnership with the Public Library Association (PLA), OCLC and its WebJunction program will lead a 16-month project to identify, synthesize, and share knowledge and resources that will help public libraries and their community partners develop effective strategies and community-driven coalitions that work together to address the opioid epidemic in America. If awarded, the project will start on August 1, 2018 and continue through November 2019.

This project will (1) produce eight case studies that explore a diverse set of communities in which the library is an active partner in response to the opioid epidemic; (2) through virtual discussion sessions, gather additional insights and resources from government agencies, public health and human services organizations, philanthropic and community organizations, and library leaders; (3) synthesize the research and cross-sector perspectives into a call-to-action white paper that offers resources and recommendations for how libraries might respond to the opioid epidemic in their local communities; and (4) broadly share the information with public library directors and their staff so that they more confidently can make better-informed decisions about their libraries' strategies, policies, and activities in relation to the opioid epidemic in their communities. The project also will raise awareness among other sectors that libraries, in their role as community anchors, make powerful partners; this realization will encourage more, and stronger, coalitions and networks that include libraries as key partners. Finally, this project aims to shift traditional systems of practice that result in siloed efforts and limited impact; and activate community collaborations that can equip libraries to deal with future challenges beyond the current epidemic. The collective impact framework, where multiple sectors commit to working in coordination to solve a complex social problem, will be one model of community collaboration that will serve as a point of reference during the project.

The project is designed to lead to these outcomes:

  1.  Public library leaders will know about a range of community-based responses to the opioid crisis, including how libraries are addressing emerging learning, needs, gaps, challenges, partnerships, policies, opportunities, and evolving community needs; and how they are measuring results.
  2. All library staff will have access to a free and open repository of regularly updated, well-curated topical resources.
  3. Public libraries and library support organizations will be more informed of frameworks (including collective impact), and tools (such as asset mapping, personas, and outcome measuring) that can inform strategy, decisions, and activities toward a response to the crisis.
  4. National, state, county, and local organizations and grantmakers that support community-based responses to the opioid crisis in government, public health, medical, legal, and public safety will have increased awareness and understanding of libraries' position, role, and capacities in local communities, and are thus better prepared to form partnerships with libraries in response to opioid crisis.

The primary audience for this project is public library and library system directors and other public library personnel that are planning a response to the opioid epidemic in their communities. This project also will benefit library staff who are not yet planning a response to this crisis but are in an information-gathering stage; leaders in national, state, county, and local organizations who support community-based responses to the crisis in the following sectors: government, public health, medical, legal, public safety, and other community organizations; national library support organizations, state libraries, and state and regional library associations; and leading grantmakers and grantmakers' associations that are committed to supporting community health and invest in initiatives that positively impact the social determinants of health. The longer-term benefit will be for community members who are affected by the opioid crisis.

Details about the research method, key activities and outline of the case study report is available upon request.

Role of the Associate Research Consultant

In close coordination with the OCLC/PLA project team, including Dr. Connaway, the associate research consultant will conduct the quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis necessary to develop eight exploratory case studies and a summary report of the findings. Specific responsibilities include: 

  • Completion of CITI course to be CITI certified for human subject research
  • Development and administration of online questionnaires and individual semi-structured interview protocols, including pre-test
  • Recruitment of study participants (n = 72)
  • Up to eight site visits for in-person interviews and other data collection 
  • Selection and review of community and library artifacts and information such as policy manuals 
  • Data analysis and review with project team and advisors
  • Oral and written summary of results for a non-technical audience of library personnel, community leaders, and cross-sector partners.  

The Consultant will be engaged as a self-employed contractor for 10 months (August 2018 - May 2019) or until the case study research deliverables are completed, and will work for an average of 30 hours per week.


  • Ph.D. or doctoral student in Library & Information Science, Social Science, Cognitive Psychology, or related discipline 
  • Three years of research experience, including doctoral research 
  • Demonstrated knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods and the ability to analyze and synthesize quantitative and qualitative data and information  
  • Superior oral and written communication skills; demonstrated ability to write and present research for a non-technical, non-academic audience and readership
  • Demonstrated ability to participate and communicate in virtual and face-to-face team environments
  • Superior interpersonal skills when interacting with colleagues, clients, advisors, and a diversity of research participants.
  • Ability to travel to up to eight locations across the U.S. during fall 2018, including travel by air and car.
  • Self-motivated and able to work both independently while also collaboratively as part of a team
  • Project management skills and ability to prioritize work effectively
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, database, and quantitative and qualitative data analysis programs, i.e., NVivo, SPSS. 

Desirable but not required: 

  • Publications in professional journals, industry magazines and/or conference proceedings 
  • Computer analysis and systems design experience 
  • Located in the Seattle, WA, or Dublin (Columbus), OH, area.


Submitting Qualifications

If you are interested in supporting this work as our Associate Research Consultant, please prepare:

  • a current résumé and/or CV (should include links to publications and/or writing samples);
  • Cover letter that details your qualifications and experience for the role as described above;
  • Statement of capacity to serve in the role for 10 months, starting in August 2018, working an average of 30 hours per week over that time period;
  • Statement of ability to work in our Seattle or Dublin, Ohio, office locations;
  • Statement of ability to travel to up to eight U.S. locations.


Please send all materials in a single email to Kendra Morgan by 5:00 PM (Pacific) on Friday, July 20, 2018, at Questions or requests for additional information about the research study are welcome prior to submission.

Call for Submissions