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Chief Librarian

Vacancy Details

Location: Boston Spa or St Pancras
Job Type: Permanent
Vacancy Group: Collections
Category: Strategy, Development, Commercial
Closing Date: 21/02/2018
Date Posted: 26/01/2018
Reference: 01800


The British Library - Chief Librarian

The British Library is seeking an exceptional leader to be its new Chief Librarian, in succession to Caroline Brazier, who retires this summer after 15 years of distinguished service to the Library. The successful candidate will join the organisation at a critical and exciting moment in its history, as it delivers its ambitious Living Knowledge vision ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2023.

Reporting to the Chief Executive, Roly Keating, the Chief Librarian is the Library’s senior collections and information professional, leading for the organisation on all matters to do with its custodianship role, its services to support research, culture, learning and business, and its global mission as an institution of curatorial and scholarly excellence. As one of the three most senior roles in the British Library, working closely with the CEO and alongside the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Librarian contributes to the leadership and strategy of the organisation at the highest level.

Founded in 1973 by an Act of Parliament, the British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s great cultural institutions. Its unrivalled collection contains items dating back over 3000 years, and comprises well in excess of 150 million items, including books, journals, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, stamps, sound recordings and archived websites. 

Living Knowledge sets an ambition for the Library to become the most open, creative and innovative institution of its kind in the world. Major developments under way include projects to digitise and make globally available to 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; and to extend and enhance its estates in St Pancras, London and at Boston Spa in Yorkshire, where the majority of the collection is now held.

Underpinning the vision of Living Knowledge are six statements of purpose – in custodianship, research, business, culture, learning and international partnership – which shape the activities of the teams under the management of the Chief Librarian. They work across a very broad range of professional disciplines, from curatorial, conservation, collection management and research functions to the teams who create high-profile exhibitions such as Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy and Harry Potter: A History of Magic.

The successful candidate for this role will be a courageous leader with an intensely curious mind, an aptitude for managing complexity, and the credibility to represent the Library at both national and international levels. If you have a track record of high achievement at senior level in the research library or public library sectors – or in other professional areas with direct relevance to the Library’s wide field of activity, such as higher education, archives or cultural institutions – and believe you are the right person to take on this vital role at the British Library, we look forward to hearing from you.

Location: St Pancras, London or Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. Salary: Competitive.

For further details, including job description, person specification and information on how to apply, please visit, quoting reference 3426.

The deadline for applications is midday (GMT) on Wednesday 21st February 2018.

Contact 1
Contact Name: Employee Services
Telephone: 01937 882030
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