British Library - 3 x Members (including Scotland Member)

Body: British Library
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Most of the Board members’ work is based at the Library’s building in St Pancras, London. At least one Board meeting per year is held in the Library’s campus in Yorkshire. The successful candidates will be expected to undertake some travel in connection with the role, for which reasonable expenses will be paid.
Number of Vacancies: 3
Remuneration: The role is remunerated at £9130 per annum. No pension is payable for the appointment.
Time Requirements: The appointment is for a term of four years, expected to start in the early summer. The role is for one to two days per month.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    09/04/2021 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wishes to appoint three new members to the Board of the British Library, one of the world’s greatest libraries, at a critical and exciting moment in its history as it responds to the unprecedented effects of Covid-19. One of the appointed members will have a ‘specialist knowledge of Scotland’, as is required by the Library’s founding legislation.

Applications are encouraged from all sections of society to help ensure that the British Library board is representative of the diverse population it serves.

The role of Board Members

Members of the Board have corporate responsibility for ensuring that the British Library complies with any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds. Other important responsibilities of Board members include:

  • overseeing the delivery of planned results by monitoring performance against strategic objectives and targets;
  • representing the Library, as its ambassadors, to stakeholders and potential donors; and
  • ensuring that high standards of corporate governance are observed at all times.

Person Specification

All candidates for appointment to the British Library Board should be able to demonstrate in their applications how they meet the following essential criteria:

  • A strong commitment to, and appreciation of, the British Library’s vision and values, and its public service and entrepreneurial goals;
  • An interest in the strategic issues facing the national library in the context of the UK’s research infrastructure and knowledge economy over the next decade;
  • Sound intellect and judgement and experience of strategic decision making, with the ability to operate effectively at Board level or equivalent;
  • Good communication skills, with the ability to act as an ambassador to people of all backgrounds for the Library’s traditions and its strategic digital agenda;
  • Willingness to participate fully and network in support of the Library’s fund-raising activities;
  • A commitment to preserving cultural heritage, and improving education and understanding of British and World history and;
  • A commitment to diversity, inclusion and providing opportunities for all.


Applicants for the Scotland Member role will also need to demonstrate:

  • A demonstrable ‘special knowledge of Scotland’ and the ability to bring to the Board a broad appreciation of the historic, social and political context of Scotland within the United Kingdom.

Desirable, but not essential, skills include the ability to contribute from a deep knowledge and understanding in one or more of the following fields: medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, data sciences, higher education, commercial law, business or governance. Other desirable criteria include proven commercial ability and budget management experience.

Additional Information

The British Library

As the national library of the United Kingdom, the British Library’s mission is to “make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment”. Choice of the word ‘everyone’ is deliberate to include all communities and the Library aims to reflect the diversity of contemporary UK society. The British Library is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, and the Board is actively seeking to improve its own diversity and will especially welcome the applications of candidates from underrepresented groups and those from different cultural and geographic backgrounds.

In 2023, the British Library will mark its 50th anniversary as the national library of the United Kingdom and, in Living Knowledge, the Library has set out an ambitious vision for growth, innovation and development as that landmark date approaches. Major developments underway include projects to digitise and make globally available its most important historic collections; to refresh and transform its service to researchers, online and on-site; to widen its reach and presence for people across the UK, including new partnerships with public libraries; to extend and enhance its Grade 1-listed building in St Pancras, London, as part of a major development partnership; and – over the longer term – to renew and improve its 43-acre campus at Boston Spa in Yorkshire, where the majority of the collection is now held.

The British Library Board is responsible for establishing the overall strategic direction of the organisation under the terms of the British Library Act 1972 and within the policy and resources framework agreed with the Secretary of State.

The Current British Library Board

The British Library Board currently comprises 9 members, and is led by the Chair, Dame Carol Black.

Final British Library Board Members Role Spec .docx (1)
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