The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, established in 1973 and governed by the British Library Act. The Library’s mission is to ‘make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment’.
The British Library Board
is a non-departmental public body operating at arm’s length from its sponsor, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Chief Executive is also the Accounting Officer appointed by DCMS, and a management agreement with the Secretary of State sets out our Grant in Aid allocation and funding conditions.
The British Library has full charitable status, but has exemption under the Charities Act 2011 from registration and oversight by the Charity Commission. DCMS acts as the Library's principal regulator for charity law purposes.
Under the provisions of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, the British Library receives a copy of every printed publication issued in the UK. The Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013 extended this arrangement to include UK websites and electronic publications.
Since 2014, the British Library Board has been responsible for administering payments to authors under the terms of the Public Lending Right Act 1979.
The British Library Act
requires the Board to manage the Library “as a national centre for reference, study and bibliographical and other information services in relation both to scientific and technological matters and to the humanities”. It also sets out the statutory aims of the Library, which must “make its services available to the public and, in particular, to institutions of education and learning, other libraries and industry”. It may carry out and sponsor research, contribute to the expenses of library authorities or other persons providing library facilities, and make any part of its collections, or of its premises, available in connection with events of an educational, literary or cultural nature.
The Library's governance framework document (PDF format) includes the Board's scheme of delegation.