Find out who the key people are at the Library and how we are organised and governed.

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.

Statutory and funding obligations

British Library Act 1972

External web link to the British Library Act 1972

Management agreement with DCMS

Details of the Library's funding and management agreement with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Legal deposit

Find out about your responsibility as a UK publisher to provide a copy of every work to the British Library.


Register for Public Lending Right (PLR) to receive payments each time that a public library lends out a copy of your work.

Board and leadership

British Library Board

Profiles of the British Library Board, its Chair and members

Leadership team

Organisation and leadership of the British Library

Annual reports, policies and advice

Annual Reports and Accounts

Every Annual Report and Accounts published by the British Library since March 2000

Corporate policies

Corporate policies and policy statements, including our code of service.

British Library Advisory Council

Role and members of the British Library Advisory Council