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Role details

Members of the British Library Advisory Council

Application deadline 8 July 2022


British Library
Sponsor department
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
4 day(s) per annum
Length of term
Appointments are for a fixed term of three years. Whilst not automatic, at the end of this term you may be reappointed for a second term of three years.
Application deadline
8am on 8 July 2022

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    20 June 2022

  2. Application deadline

    8am on 8 July 2022

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


The British Library wishes to appoint four members to its Advisory Council, which provides advice, insights and suggestions to the Library’s leadership. Applications are sought from candidates with expertise in a relevant field such as: collaborative (post-graduate) academic research, data sciences, life and physical sciences, education, culture, publishing, media, business and commerce, entrepreneurship, libraries, or the creation and management of knowledge.

The Library is committed to eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity in its appointments. We particularly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups and those who have achieved success through non-traditional educational routes. This ensures that we will benefit from a full range of diverse perspectives and the Advisory Council is representative of the people we serve.

Role description

The role and structure of the British Library Advisory Council

Mandated by the British Library Act 1972, the Advisory Council has no governance responsibilities but exists “to advise the British Library on any aspect of the development and operation of its services, and its relations with libraries, at home and overseas”. It consists of a chair plus up to 25 other members, appointed by the British Library either by virtue of their positions in the national libraries or library systems of the United Kingdom, or for their ability to offer insights and advice in relation to the Library’s services, future plans, stakeholder constituencies or other functions.

The Advisory Council normally meets three or four times a year, in March/April, July and October. However, in some years an additional meeting, workshop or event may be convened to reflect on key strategic issues.  Meetings now take place both virtually, and in the British Library’s St Pancras building in London, but there may be occasional visits to the British Library’s facility in Boston Spa, Yorkshire.

Advisory Council meetings are usually attended by the Library’s Chief Executive, Chief Librarian and Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board, plus one or two members of the Library’s strategic leadership team who will present an issue or topic for discussion by the Council.

Organisation description

About the British Library

As the national library of the United Kingdom, the British Library’s mission is to “make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment”. Choice of the word ‘everyone’ is deliberate to include all communities and the Library aims to reflect the diversity of contemporary UK society. The British Library is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, and the Board is actively seeking to improve its own diversity and will especially welcome the applications of candidates from underrepresented groups and those from different cultural and geographic backgrounds.

In 2023, the British Library will mark its 50th anniversary as the national library of the United Kingdom and, in Living Knowledge, the Library has set out an ambitious vision for growth, innovation and development as that landmark date approaches. Major developments underway include projects to digitise and make globally available its most important historic collections; to refresh and transform its service to researchers, online and on-site; to widen its reach and presence for people across the UK, including new partnerships with public libraries; to extend and enhance its Grade 1-listed building in St Pancras, London, as part of a major development partnership; and – over the longer term – to renew and improve its 43-acre campus at Boston Spa in Yorkshire, where the majority of the collection is now held.

Person specification

Essential criteria

Members of the Advisory Council are expected to possess:

  • Sound intellectual and judgement skills
  • Good communication skills
  • An informed appreciation of the challenges facing the British Library as it seeks to look after the nation’s intellectual heritage, to deliver services for research, business, culture and learning, and to engage with diverse users, audiences and international partners
  • A high level of commitment to the breadth of activities of the British Library and to supporting its public service and entrepreneurial goals
  • The ability to contribute useful advice, insights and ideas to the Library’s leadership.

Application and selection process

How to apply

If you wish to apply for this post, please supply the following:

  • A copy of your CV, including your current postal address, email address and contact (mobile and home) telephone number(s).
  • A covering letter outlining how your experience is applicable to this role.

All applications should be sent by email, with “BL Advisory Council application” in the header, to by Friday 8 July 2022.

Short-listing will determine which candidates best demonstrate the specified qualities and experience, they will then be contacted by the Council’s chair during July for a short, telephone / zoom -based interview.

Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 18 July 2022.

Overview of the application process

Disability Confident

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application, which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under the majority of the essential criteria.

If you wish to apply under this scheme, state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application. This will in no way prejudice your application.

All applicants are expected to abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life and the 12 Principles of Governance


Expenses incurred by external candidates during the recruitment process will not be reimbursed, except in exceptional circumstances, and only when agreed in advance.


Any enquiries can be directed to Michelle Clewer, Head of Governance at the British Library, by email to by telephone to 020 7412 7591 (direct).

Additional information for candidates

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for a fixed term of three years. Whilst not automatic, at the end of this term you may be reappointed for a second term of three years. You will be expected to devote no less than four days per year, including associated preparation time and attendance at meetings, to the role.

Contact details

Any enquiries can be directed to Michelle Clewer, Head of Governance at the British Library, by email to by telephone to 020 7412 7591 (direct).