RFP Issued For 2022 RAILS Website Redesign

RAILS Blue circle

The Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) is in the process of moving its current Drupal 7 website to Drupal 9, and we are soliciting proposals for limited work on the new Drupal 9 site.

We anticipate going live with the new site in November 2022.

While most of the work to build the site will be performed in-house, we are seeking to contract with a creative and experienced Drupal shop/developer to complete the following aspects of the project:

• Visual design of the site, including a customized subtheme of the contributed U.S. Web Design System theme (https://www.drupal.org/project/uswds)

• Development work needed to create a Drupal 9 version of our “Fast Facts” survey authoring tool, which is built on the contributed Webform module (https://www.drupal.org/project/webform)

• Additional development support as needed (possibly including a prepaid bundle of support hours)

Our total budget for outside contract for this project is in the mid five figures.

RAILS will own all design, files, data, source code, and other products created for this project, except to the extent that any of those assets is or is made open-source. Contributions back to the Drupal community will be permitted and encouraged. No logo or other advertisement for the contractor will be permitted on the site.



RAILS is one of two multitype regional library systems in Illinois. We serve approximately 1,300 academic, public, school, and specialized library members, representing more than 4,200 library facilities in a 27,000 square mile area across northern and western Illinois. Although the city of Chicago is within our boundaries, and a number of RAILS member libraries are located in Chicago, the Chicago Public Library constitutes a separate library system. We currently have offices in Burr Ridge (our administrative center), Bolingbrook, Coal Valley, East Peoria, and Rockford.

RAILS is governed by a Board of Directors elected by member libraries. Funding is provided through the Illinois State Library and the Secretary of State, with funds appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly or granted under the federal Library Services and Technology Act.

We have recently adopted a new strategic plan, which is available on our website at https://www.railslibraries.info/about/strategic-plan.

Our mission statement is: “We Connect Libraries.”

Current Website Environment

The current RAILS website, https://www.railslibraries.info, was launched in 2016. It is one of several Drupal 7 websites that we maintain, each with its own Drupal installation on its own virtual server that we self-host.

The RAILS website averages about 185,000 unique pageviews per month. While much of the site is public (viewable by anonymous users), there are content and features that are available only to logged-in users, based on their Drupal roles on the site. Certain major features of the current site will not be ported/migrated to the new Drupal 9 site:

• Integration of Mailman email list subscriptions into the RAILS website

• Importing/archiving of Mailman list messages on the site

• Multi-site SOLR search

• “Intranet” section for RAILS employees

The current site’s “Fast Facts” survey creation tool allows authorized users to build a survey questionnaire, with several items (name, email, library) already included in the form. It was built using the contributed Webform and Form Builder modules, plus custom modules.

Users, including anonymous users, can subscribe to receive email notifications when a new node of a specific type (e.g.: job listing, News from RAILS) is published. Currently, this is done via subscriptions to Mailman lists, and the site sends the message to the appropriate list through a rule configured with the contributed Rules module.

Drupal 9 Website Environment

The new RAILS website is in early stages of development, but some characteristics and qualities have been decided on:

RAILS will continue to self-host the new website. The site will use the domain name railslibraries.org; the development site is at https://dev.railslibraries.org.

Several of our other sites will be included on the same Drupal installation and database, and the contributed Domain/Domain Access suite (https://www.drupal.org/project/domain) is being used to configure and manage the sites on the shared installation. All work on the other sites is being completed in-house.

There will be different login methods for users who are affiliated with libraries (OpenID Connect custom client), RAILS employees (LDAP or Azure AD), and special users (core Drupal login).

Some content and features will continue to be available only to authenticated users, based on their Drupal roles.

Some content types will use the Gutenberg Editor (these types will account for relatively few nodes on the site). We anticipate that Layout Builder might be used to arrange fields for some other content types that will be more strictly structured.

Access control will be provided via a combination of core Drupal roles and permissions, the Domain Access suite, and the contributed Content Access module (https://www.drupal.org/project/content_access).

We anticipate that some information that is currently imported from the Library Directory & Learning Calendar (L2) website – https://librarylearning.org – into the Drupal 7 RAILS website as content nodes will instead be assembled and formatted for display as needed through L2’s API and custom modules developed in-house.

Website Audience

Primary Audience Group:

• Employees of, and other individuals associated with, the approximately 1,300 library agencies that are members of RAILS

Secondary Audience Groups:

• RAILS system employees

• RAILS Board Members (all are affiliated with member libraries)

• Library employees who are specifically involved in RAILS committees, working or advisory groups, or other activities related to the system’s operations

• Employees of the library agencies that are members of our sibling institution, the Illinois Heartland Library System

Tertiary Audience Groups:

• Employees of the Illinois State Library

• People affiliated with non-member libraries in the RAILS service area (prospective members)

Other Audience Groups:

• The general populace of the RAILS service area in Illinois

• Job seekers (approximately 65% of traffic on the site is for job listings)

• People affiliated with libraries outside of Illinois

Project Expectations and Objectives


Our main objective for the design and theme is to have an attractive site that meets our members’ needs, with a homepage and menu structure that also reflect our mission statement of “We Connect Libraries.”

RAILS conducted research into member needs in 2021 as part of our strategic planning process, and we have begun additional research directly pertaining to the website. We will provide this information to the selected vendor, which may supplement any research the vendor may perform.

Our members tend to visit our website to find specific information or perform a specific task, so the design needs to facilitate that type of use.

Some needs for the design and theme are:

• Custom subtheme of the contributed U.S. Web Design System theme (https://www.drupal.org/project/uswds)

• Must meet current WCAG 2 AA guidelines for accessibility

• Color contrast must meet the enhanced WCAG 2 AAA level guidelines

• Color scheme must coordinate with the colors of the RAILS logo

• Custom homepage to include blocks/content as determined by RAILS (homepage should NOT include a hero image/banner/slideshow)

• The homepage and/or menu structure should, in part, highlight current issues (“Library Pulse” on the current site), targeted content for the four library types (academic, public, school, and specialized), our separate websites for specific services, and convenient access to RAILS news

Fast Facts Surveys

Fast Facts is a tool that allows authorized users to create a survey questionnaire that other users can respond to and view responses for. On the current Drupal 7 site, Fast Facts is a node type that has a webform attached. The webform has several elements included by default and allows the Fast Facts author to add additional elements via a simplified Form Builder interface. Notification of a new Fast Facts node/form is automatically emailed to an email list for subscribers.

For several reasons (changes to the Webform module, no D9 version of Form Builder, custom code), the Fast Facts feature of the RAILS website needs to be completely redone for Drupal 9. To make survey creation work as conveniently and intuitively for users as possible, we anticipate that the new Fast Facts will need to function as follows (much of this assumes that Fast Facts will use a modification of Webform; we are open to other solutions):

• Authenticated users with specified Drupal roles can create a new Fast Facts survey, respond to surveys created by any user, and view all responses for any survey

• Those specified roles do not have general permissions to create Webforms and view responses of Webforms, only for Fast Facts surveys

• To begin creating a survey questionnaire, the user gives the survey a title, a brief description of its purpose, and a closing date for the survey (default is 2 weeks from the current date)

• Other than the “Add element” button, list of form elements, and “Save elements” button, all other tabs, buttons, instructions, etc., on the Build interface should be removed/hidden

• The label for the “Add element” button is instead “Add Question”; the label for the “Save elements” button is instead “Save & Publish Survey”

• Each questionnaire form has form elements for Name, Email, and Library already included; these form elements cannot be removed or edited by the survey author; for respondents, default values are pre-populated from values in the respondent’s user profile

• The survey author must add at least one more form element to the questionnaire form before the Fast Facts survey can be published

• The survey author can select from only these types of form elements:

o Text field

o Textarea

o Checkboxes

o Radios

o File

• All other form element types (and element groups) are removed/hidden from the interface

• Other than the basic element settings (type, title, allowed number of values) and the element options for setting up the selection options for Checkboxes and Radios, all other form element options, groups, and tabs are removed/hidden from the interface

• The label for the elements’ “Title” field is instead “Your Question”

• When the Fast Facts webform is saved (i.e., the “Save & Publish Survey” button is clicked), an email notification about the new Fast Facts survey is sent to a specific address, or to users who are subscribed to Fast Facts notifications

• The author of the survey is provided with text to copy-and-paste, to facilitate sending an announcement of the new survey to other email lists, if desired

• After the closing date of the survey, the form is automatically closed or otherwise made unavailable for further responses

• All of the above Webform modifications are applied only to Fast Facts surveys; users with website administrative permissions need to be able to create forms using the standard Webform interface and functionality

Additional Development Support

As work progresses on this project, we may find that we need to outsource additional development tasks. Additional development under this contract might include work such as:

• Migration of certain content that has attached files (e.g., RAILS board meetings, https://www.railslibraries.info/board/meetings) from the Drupal 7 site to Drupal 9 site

• Configuration of Rules or Business Rules, or custom module development, to send notification of new nodes of specific types to subscribers (this is currently done on our Drupal 7 site using Rules and a Mailman list for each node type)

• Configuration of website search, including indexing of text in files attached to nodes

• Custom development of module to facilitate the generating of nodes for quarterly delivery statistical reporting forms (currently done via a CSV file and Feeds)

We would be interested in either a set hourly rate for such work, a prepaid bundle of hours, or a combination of bundle plus rate for additional hours.

RFP Contact Person:

Brian Smith Applications & Web Developer Reaching Across Illinois Library System 125 Tower Drive Burr Ridge, IL 60527


Questions and Notifications

All inquiries, questions or notifications must be sent to us in writing via email and marked “Questions—RFP for Website.” Phone calls will not be accepted. All inquiries shall be directed only to the RFP contact person as shown above. The deadline for questions is 5:00 p.m. Central Time on May 11, 2022.

Should you suspect any error, omission, or discrepancy in the specifications or instructions, please notify Brian Smith immediately via email. Questions, answers, and updated instructions will be posted on the RAILS website at https://www.railslibraries.info by 5:00 p.m. Central Time on May 12, 2022. It is the vendor’s responsibility to check the website for this information.

Proposal Submission

Proposals must be received no later than 3:00 p.m. Central Time on May 28, 2022. Proposals must be submitted electronically to the RFP contact person listed above with a subject line of “RFP – Website”.

Proposals must be Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word documents. Files may not be password-protected or copy-protected.

All information submitted is subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140) and other applicable laws and rules. Vendors claiming exemption from disclosure of certain portions of the offer must do so in a separate section of the offer clearly labeled “Confidential 23 RAILS Website Project RFP Information” and cite the specific relevant exemption under Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140) or other applicable laws and rules.

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