1 Who we are and what we do

Roles and responsibilities

The British Library Board delegates management of the British Library to the Library's Chief Officers. The Chief Officers are responsible for formulating and implementing a unified corporate and integrated approach to the policy, strategy, and resource framework set by the British Library Board, and with due regard to the efficient and effective deployment of staff, to their health, safety and wellbeing  and to other resources throughout the organisation.


Organisational structure

Under the leadership of the Chief Officers, our Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) has overall responsibility for the Library's management and operations. Each member of SLT is responsible for one or more of the Library's teams or functions, or else is a 'staff' member of SLT representing an internal staff network or Trade Union.


Trustees, management board members and senior staff

The British Library Board is ultimately responsible for the provision of the Library's services. Individual Board members sit on British Library Board Committees relevant to their areas of expertise - the Board Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee, 'Whistleblower' and Capital Projects Committee (formerly Construction Projects Committee). Periodically, the Board may form a temporary Investment Committee.

The British Library Board delegates operational management of the British Library to the Library's Chief Officers:

In 2013 the government took the decision to abolish the position of Registrar of Public Lending Right and to to transfer legal responsibility for administration of the PLR Scheme to the British Library Board. To support its administration of PLR, the British Library has set up an advisory committee – the British Library Advisory Committee for Public Lending Right (PDF format) - to provide expert advice to it on the operation of the PLR Scheme and to represent the views of PLR stakeholders. The Committee replaces the former Management Board which advised the former Registrar on the management of the Scheme. 


Our locations and public access arrangements

Details of our opening hours and addresses can be found on the British Library website.


Our contact details

You can find out how to contact us (or how to make a complaint) on the British Library website.


Subsidiary bodies

The British Library owns no subsidiary companies.


Legislation relevant to the British Library's functions

The statutory duties of the British Library are set out in the British Library Act 1972, the Public Lending Right Act 1979, and the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (as amended by the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013).

The sponsoring government department of the British Library is the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.


Organisations with which the British Library works in partnership

The Library works closely with a limited number of strategic partners on programmes that are of strategic importance to the Library in the long term, are of significant scale, and are of mutual benefit.

These partnerships tend to be in four key sectors:

  • Content - we partner with organisations such as the BBC, the National Archive or the British Film Institute to provide access to a richer and wider array of content than the Library could provide on its own
  • Education - we partner with organisations such as JISC to coordinate our work with researchers in the Higher Education sector
  • Commercial - we partner with commercial organisations such as Google, BrightSolid, Gale, or the Qatar Foundation to enable us to digitise and provide access to our vast hard-copy collections on a scale that the Library can not provide on its own
  • Technology - we partner with organisations such as Microsoft in order to develop technical solutions and expertise on matters such as Digital Preservation.


Meetings of Chief Executive with Ministers and external organisations

A list of of meetings with Ministers or senior members of major external organisations attended by the Chief Executive of the British Library can be found in this spreadsheet (Excel format) - from January 2015 onwards. All meetings are to discuss general matters of shared interest unless otherwise noted.