International Library Leaders Programme

Workshop attendee conserving a collection item.

A week-long intensive professional development programme for library and archive professionals

Published date:

With 170 million items in the collection, what does it look like behind the scenes of one of the world's largest national libraries? How do we ensure that rare treasures such as Magna Carta and Jane Austen's notebooks can still be enjoyed and studied 100 years from now? In a society where many sources of information are no longer trusted and the way in which people use and access information has changed, how do libraries stay relevant?

Join us at the British Library for a unique opportunity to meet our experts and learn from their experiences of dealing with the everyday challenges facing libraries today. Over the course of a week, you'll gain knowledge and fresh insights in the following:

  • Discovering how our expert curators use library collections to engage with researchers and broader audiences
  • Learning how the British Library designs and manages digitisation projects
  • Caring for physical collections – preservation and conservation
  • Caring for your digital collections – digital preservation, metadata and cataloguing
  • Using new tools and services to engage researchers
  • Using your collections in learning programmes and exhibitions to engage a wide range of audiences

You’ll also meet peers from around the world and share and discuss key issues in contemporary collection management through a series of workshops, case study reviews and focus groups.

Where and when

The programme runs from 11 – 15 November 2019. Sessions take place at the British Library in London unless otherwise stated.

Course itinerary

11 November: British Library strategy and key projects.

12 November: Curating the British Library’s collection; an overview of digitisation projects and workflow management.

13 November: Tour of the Library’s Digital Preservation and Collection Management facilities in Boston Spa, Yorkshire.

14 November: Conservation and preservation; digital scholarship.

15 November: The Library as a cultural institution; events, exhibitions and learning programmes.

Entry requirements

There are 20 spaces are available on the programme. Applicants should be working professionals with at least three years’ experience in a library, archive or cultural institution.

We are actively seeking applications from a wide range of roles across libraries and archives worldwide. Professionals keen to gain insights into the multitude of operations in a national library and to exchange knowledge with their peers around the future of libraries will benefit most from this programme.


The programme fee is £1,800 per person, which includes all course materials, refreshments and lunch during the five days and return transport to the Library’s Boston Spa site in Yorkshire. The fee does not include travel costs to and from the UK, accommodation or any other expenses.

How to apply

You can apply for the International Library Leaders Programme online using this Google form.

You may prefer to download the Application form (DOC format) to work on your application first.

You can either submit your completed application form by emailing a Word version to with the subject line ‘Training 2019 Application’, or you can submit your application using the Google form.

Further details

Please read these Background (DOC format) and Terms and Conditions (DOC format) documents and indicate that you have read and agreed to the Terms and Conditions before submitting your application.

The closing deadline is midday BST on 3 September 2019. Successful applicants will be notified by 7 September 2019.


Americas and Oceania

Extensive collections from the Americas and Oceania

Case studies

…Everyone is really willing to help each other out…

Melissa is doing collaborative PhD research on photographs of the British West India Regiments between 1865-1914.