Our departments and functions

A man reaching for a book in an archive

Curious about curation? Got a thirst for technology? Learn about the diverse range of teams and people who work here.

Our teams include:

Business Audiences

Chief Executive's Office

Collections

Operations

Collection Management

Collections and Curation

Commercial Services

Corporate Affairs and Strategy Development

Culture & Learning

Development

Digital Scholarship

Estates & Facilities

Finance

Governance

Higher Education

Human Resources

Operations North

Operations South

Qatar Foundation Partnership

Research Services

Security & Safety Management

Strategy Development

Technology

Business Audiences

We help UK businesses to grow and prosper

Leading the Library’s strategic approach to customers in the UK’s business and creative industries is our area of expertise. As well as coordinating the Innovating for Growth project  – a European Regional Development Fund programme designed to help small businesses scale-up and grow, we oversee the Business & IP Centre National Network that gives entrepreneurs and SMEs alike free access to an array of databases, market research, journals, directories and reports. We also run a programme of events and workshops on a range of topics that include business planning, marketing and intellectual property. The work here is interesting, varied and challenging.

Chief Executive's Office

We’re the driving force behind new developments

The Chief Executive is responsible for guiding the overall strategic direction of the Library. The Chief Executive's Office provides administrative support to the CEO and the Chairman of the British Library Board.

Collections

The Library’s collections and research are in safe hands

The Collections Division is responsible for many of the Library's core purposes, including developing, managing, curating and interpreting our collections in both physical and digital format. Developing our services for researchers in all disciplines is an important aspect of what we do too, as is devising and implementing a research strategy and advancing the Library’s cutting edge programme of work in digital scholarship.

Operations

We keep the Library running smoothly

The Library’s Operations Division consists of around 700 staff spread across the three Library sites and delivers internal service functions and the Library’s front line services. Responsible for the resourcing, operations, infrastructure and services of the Library, we also oversee our Reader and visitor services, finance, strategic risk and security, information technology, people management, commercial activities and our estates and facilities.

Collection Management

We’re the Library’s custodians

One of the largest functions within the Library, the work of the Collection Management team underpins the effective custodianship of our physical and digital collections. We do so by ensuring that content is obtained effectively, made discoverable to users and preserved for future generations of researchers.

Collections and Curation

We help create memorable experiences

Our challenge is building, managing and promoting the Library’s diverse and complex collections – including published, written and digital content covering all formats, periods and geographical areas. That, and developing fruitful partnerships nationally and internationally to enhance users' understanding of human experience, culture and society. 

We also have a Research Development team that works across the Library to develop and support its research strategy and activities as an Independent Research Organisation. In short, we help create memorable cultural experiences and support research, both today and in the future.

Commercial Services

We’re responsible for driving the Library’s income streams

Managing the commercial strategy for the Library and identifying/implementing new business opportunities and revenue streams is our remit. We’re also responsible for the management of the Library’s publishing activities and Shop and have ambitious plans to grow our income to £19 million by 2023.

Corporate Affairs and Strategy Development

We communicate the Library’s services, products and value to our audiences

Media relations and reputation management; marketing, data analysis and social media; internal communications; policy and government relations – we’re involved in all of these areas. We ensure that our Living Knowledge strategy and reputation are understood and supported by our audiences, funders and internal and external stakeholders alike.

We work with partner organisations in the UK and internationally and help to bring in new audiences through our community engagement programme. What’s more, we’re responsible for delivering a public libraries strategy via the Living Knowledge Network, alongside the Knowledge Quarter, as well as managing high-profile campaigns such as the marketing and communications for our major exhibitions and other Library services such as the Business & IP Centre, Reading Rooms and our broader events programme.

Culture & Learning

We inspire learners of all ages

Leading and developing the Library’s strategic approach to our public and learning audiences on-site, across the UK and internationally and managing our relationships with the wider cultural sector – that’s the challenge the Culture & Learning team rise to every day.

We’re also responsible for developing and delivering the Library’s cultural events and exhibitions and managing the wider learning programme which delivers workshops, activities and resources for schools, teachers and learners of all ages.

Development

We support the Library in delivering its core purposes

As a charitable organisation, the British Library relies on donations to help us protect, grow and open up access to our collections through a range of activities including exhibitions, learning programmes, conservation, digitisation and research projects. As well as raising funds for a wide range of projects, the Development Office runs the Adopt-a-Book and Patrons schemes as well as Business Partnerships and Sponsorship activities.

Digital Scholarship

All things digital is our area of expertise

We’re responsible for the Library’s collections digitisation strategy and developing our digital scholarship capabilities and service offerings. We also lead and develop the Library’s strategic management of digital content via digital research and curation and ongoing digitisation programmes.

Estates & Facilities

We keep the Library running smoothly

We’re responsible for managing and supporting our property and accommodation, carrying out engineering and construction projects and managing energy and waste consumption at the Library’s two very distinct buildings. The site at St. Pancras, London is the largest public building constructed in the UK in the 20th century, while at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, you’ll find 100km of shelving!

As well as operating and maintaining the Library’s buildings and systems, we provide and manage – on a primarily outsourced basis – facilities services that range from catering and cleaning to business travel and space planning.

Finance

We ensure that the Library’s users get value for money

Accounting, Procurement, Assurance, Risk, Corporate Planning, Legal and Employee Services – these are the elements that go to make up the Library’s finance team. We ensure that users of our services get the best value possible out of the money received (including taxpayers’ money) to fund the Library.

We also give the Board assurance that our resources are properly managed and accounted for. Providing that assurance means implementing and maintaining robust policies, systems and procedures to ensure compliance with statutory and regulatory frameworks in relation to finance, procurement, and other aspects of governance, so you can expect lots of challenges here.

Governance

Because efficient administration is key

The Head of Governance’s office is responsible for the efficient administration of the Library, matters of accountability and ensuring that decisions made by the Library leadership are implemented. We also provide secretariat support to the British Library Board and its committees, the British Library Advisory Council, the Strategic Leadership Team and the three major groups that co-ordinate the work of the Library: Business Performance, Major Programmes, and Audit & Risk Groups.

Higher Education

We’re committed to enabling the advance of UK research

We’re responsible for developing long-term partnerships with the higher education sector and building strategic relationships to ensure we continue to play a vital role in underpinning UK research.

We also collaborate with organisations like Jisc to commission studies into researcher behaviour so that we can respond quickly to changes within the sector in terms of research methods and behaviours.

Raising researcher awareness of our collection and services via a range of engagement activities such as Postgraduate Training Days is an important aspect of our work too, in a team that’s dedicated to meeting the needs of current and future researchers.

Human Resources

We’re the people who look after our people

Here in HR, we determine and deliver a People Strategy to underpin our strategic priorities and day-to-day activities, enabling line managers to support their staff throughout their time at the Library.

We also provide support in a range of key areas, including generalist HR, diversity & inclusion, reward, employee relations, recruitment, learning and development, talent and succession planning, performance management, continuous improvement and wellbeing.

And when it comes to ensuring the Library’s policies and processes are robust enough to enhance the culture and values of the organisation, as well as compliant with best practice and legislation, again, we are the team responsible.

Operations North

We provide a wide range of services

Based across all of the Library’s sites, the Operations North team provide a range of customer-facing services and back office functions including BL On Demand (remote-access), Imaging and Digitisation services, Copyright and Licensing, Customer Services, Reading Room support and the Public Lending Right (PLR) service.

Operations South

We specialise in Reader & Reference services

The Operations South team is responsible for all of the Library’s Reader & Reference services, including the smooth running of our Reading Rooms and the provision of research and reference services to Readers and remote customers alike.

Qatar Foundation Partnership

We’re preserving the history of the Gulf

Our challenge is to make the history and culture of the Gulf and wider region available through items held in the Library’s Collections. We do this by digitising archive material, sounds and visual arts relating to Gulf history and Arabic scientific manuscripts.

Amongst our proud achievements we recently launched the Qatar Digital Library – a free to use, bilingual, online portal providing access to previously undigitised British Library collections.

Research Services

We deliver one of the Library’s most vital resources

We’re responsible for designing, developing and enhancing the Library’s services to researchers and research organisations both on-site and online, including discovery and access services. We also lead on the development of the Library’s contemporary research collections.

Security & Safety Management

Our vital support keeps everyone safe and sound

We make sure that visitors, staff and all Library assets remain safe and secure as the Library continues to grow its engagement with both new and existing audiences. We provide security support to all Library activities from the protection of our buildings and our international travellers to the integrity and security of our data.

Strategy Development

We’re always thinking about the future

Our team is responsible for developing the Library’s major visions, strategies and business plans and providing advice on strategy tools and techniques to colleagues across the organisation. The current vision for the Library, Living Knowledge, sets the Library’s aims in the lead up to its 50th birthday in 2023.

Technology

You won't find our sort of challenges anywhere else

Simply saying that the Technology team, as IT is known here, provides support for the day-to-day operations of the Library’s estate of software, infrastructure and desktop/mobile devices, doesn't really paint the whole picture.

Our challenges range from liaising with a single PC user, to working with ‘off the shelf’ software, to managing one of the world’s largest digital library systems.

We also design and build innovative software and hardware solutions that enable the Library to achieve its objectives. What’s more, we constantly strive to improve the infrastructure and service delivery, enhance our strategic library systems, enable first class search, discovery and access experience and improve corporate system integration.

And all the while, we work hard to make sure we have secure and robust controls in place to keep our data secure and confidential and in line with industry standards.

Case studies from our staff

…Our team is constantly learning and developing…

We have been at the forefront of digitisation and digital preservation projects for over two decades.

…You won't find these kind of challenges in many other organisations…

Whilst we’re structured like many other IT teams, what we do day-to-day ultimately leads to the preservation of our history and collective knowledge. And, because our collection is very diverse, it could be print or sound based.

…I get to collaborate with some incredible people…

Our programme of workshops, led by specialist educators, encourages curiosity, creativity and exploration. Sessions develop critical thinking, research skills and visual, verbal and information literacy.

…The sheer size of the place means there are great development opportunities…

We help people find and use material held in some of the most unusual and hard to search parts of our collection – answering questions from Readers as well as those phoned in or sent to us as emails and letters, or via our QuestionPoint and Chat services.

Learn more

Internships

Find out about our paid internships.

School work experience

Our invaluable work experience will set you up for the future.

Apprenticeships

Do you have what it takes to be our next apprentice?

Volunteering

Got a few hours to spare? Then come and volunteer at the British Library.