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Vacancy -- Vice President - National Library of Wales

Vacancy details

National Library of Wales
Majority of meetings are held in Aberystwyth
Unpaid but Members are entitled to claim travel costs and other reasonable expenses within reasonable limits

Function of body

The National Library is Wales’ pre-eminent library and archive. It is a massive information resource and treasure house on all subjects, freely available to everyone, and a living store of the recorded cultures of Wales. In reality it has two dimensions – a splendid physical building in Aberystwyth housing the print, manuscript, visual and audio-visual collections, and an online library available through the internet.


The National Library of Wales (‘the Library’) was established by Royal Charter on the 19th of March 1907. Supplemental Charters were granted in 1911 and in 1978, with slight constitutional revisions. On the 19th July 2006 a new supplemental Charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth II. The 2006 Supplemental Charter changed the constitution and the Library’s governance significantly and recognised devolution of Government from Westminster to Wales. Whereas previously the Library had a Court of Governors and a Council it now has a Board of Trustees.

The Library is also a registered charity (registered number: 525775) and a Welsh Government Sponsored Body (WGSB).

It must therefore function as: (a) a Royal Charter foundation and a Registered Charity of the highest order, and (b) a Welsh Government sponsored body. This dual nature governs how it operates and fulfils its role and obligations, and requires a delicate balance between the pursuing and fulfilling (a) the ‘objects’ of its Charter and Charitable status, which reflect its foundation purpose, and (b) the principles of arms-length Government. A Framework document drawn up by MALD: Museums, Archives and Libraries Division in 2010 in consultation with the Library sets out the details of the terms and conditions under which the Welsh Ministers provide grant-in-aid to the Library.

The Library currently employs 240 members of staff. In 2017-18 it will receive c£17.89 million in grant-in-aid from the Welsh Government.

The Library’s primary ‘object’, as expressed in the 2006 Supplemental Charter is:

To collect, preserve and give access to all kinds and forms of recorded knowledge, especially relating to Wales and the Welsh and other Celtic peoples, for the benefit of the public, including those engaged in research and learning.

The Library’s responsibilities and associated activities are best expressed as five ‘core functions’, each of which has many aspects:

• Collecting

• Preserving

• Giving access and information

• Publicising and interpreting

• Professional collaboration (especially with libraries and archives across Wales, also Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

At the heart of the Library are its rich and diverse collections, some of which have been ‘inscribed’ in UNESCO’s Memory of the World register:

• Printed works: books, periodicals, newspapers and other printed material amounting to about 6m volumes. They are a ‘legal deposit’ library (one of only six in the UK and Ireland) and collect a high proportion of the entire printed publications of the UK and Ireland, some of which is now in electronic formats.

• Manuscripts: 30,000 items, the oldest dating from 113 AD, and including the earliest literature of Wales and early British and European texts.

• Archives: 15km, 2,500 collections, including the Welsh Political Archive, estate records, records of the Court of Great Sessions and the Church in Wales, all wills proved in Welsh dioceses before 1858, modern literary papers and the archives of Welsh organisations and businesses.

• Maps: over 1.5m, and thousands of atlases.

• Pictures: 50,000 works documenting Wales, mainly through landscapes and portraits.

• Photographs: 950,000 prints, negatives and transparencies - the largest collection in Wales.

• Microforms: e.g. of newspapers, archives and family history sources.

• Sound and moving images: 7m feet of film, 300,000 hours of video, 250,000 hours of sound recordings, 200,000 items from the ITV Wales Archive, and thousands of records and tapes, all maintained by the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

• Electronic material: millions of digital objects, including CD-ROMs, e-books, e-journals, websites, electronic archives and digitised items

Role description

The National Library of Wales was established by Royal Charter. The Supplemental Charter 2006 provides that there will be a Vice President as one of the three Officers of the Library’s Board. Statutes within the Charter provide that in the absence of the President, or in the case of the President’s inability or failure to act through illness, or during any vacancy in the office of President, the Vice President will discharge the functions of the President. The roles of the President and Vice President are therefore complementary in relation to chairing Board meetings and representing the Library. The Vice President role requires an individual with significant powers of focus and the ability to adapt to changing situations at short notice.

The Vice President will take on the roles of the President if he/she is absent. These include:

• Chairing meetings of the Board of Trustees

• Chairing other Library Committees in the absence of the appointed Chair

• Meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure twice a year

• Liaising with other officers and members of the Board as necessary

• Liaising with the Chief Executive/Librarian as necessary

• Representing the Library in its dealings with the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government, primarily when the Minister or an Assembly Committee is involved

• Representing the Library at public functions

The time commitment for the role of Vice President is up to 3-4 days per month.

As a Trustee, the Vice President should also be able to:

• Demonstrate Governance and Leadership skills to provide effective leadership for the Library

• Attend Board meetings regularly and prepare thoroughly for those meetings

• Contribute to the determination of policy, strategies and priorities to meet the Library’s overall objectives

• Ensure that the Library’s activities are conducted efficiently and effectively

• Monitor the Library’s performance to ensure that it fully meets its aims, objectives and performance targets

• Ensure that the Library’s controls achieve value for money within a framework of best practice, regularity and propriety

• Demonstrate effective representational and ambassadorial skills in order to act as an ambassador for the Library

• Occasionally attend additional working groups

Welsh language skills

The Welsh Government acknowledges the importance of developing and growing bilingual capabilities in public appointments in Wales, and welcomes applications from candidates who demonstrate their capability to work in both English and Welsh.  The following list of language requirements represents an objective assessment by the recruiting body of the Welsh language skills required to undertake the duties of this particular post.
Can read simple material on everyday topics with understanding
Can write basic messages on everyday topics
Can understand routine work-related conversations
Can hold simple work-related conversations

Person specification

The Vice President will need expertise in one or more of the areas listed. Please describe any relevant experience you have in any of these fields.

• information services
• sustainability
• the making of applications for finance/fundraising
• tourism and recreation
• user experience/customer services
• Commerce/e-commerce
• public relations/social media
• media and communications
• estates, buildings and architecture
• ICT/systems
• legal

• A commitment and enthusiasm for the Library’s work and an understanding of the cultural sector as a whole. Please describe how you can evidence this criterion.

• The Vice President must be prepared to work in a collegiate manner with fellow Board Members by contributing effectively in discussion, decision making and debate. Please explain your approach to working in a team.

• In deputising for the President, the Vice President needs to demonstrate leadership skills and an understanding of the process of managing organisations and effective governance. Please give examples which demonstrate your abilities in this area.

• The Vice President will need the capability to inspire respect for the status of the post and the Library itself. This will be reflected in effective ambassadorial, presentation and negotiation skills that can be used to influence external individuals and organisations to be more positive towards the Library. Please describe how you can evidence this criterion.

• The Vice President needs a good understanding of the Library’s dual role as a major charity and a Welsh Government Sponsored Body. Please describe your understanding of these roles.

• It is desirable (though not essential) for the Vice-President to have some degree of spoken Welsh. Please indicate your level of competency

Interview dates

5 June 2017
6 June 2017

Closing date

31/03/2017 23:55

Additional information

For further information regarding the selection process, please contact:

The Corporate Shared Service Centre
Tel: 029 2082 5454

For further information regarding the role of The National Library of Wales and the role of Vice President please contact Carol Edwards, (01970) 632923 or e-mail:

If you need any further assistance in applying for this role, please contact the Welsh Government’s Corporate Shared Service Centre Helpdesk on 029 2082 5454 or

For further information about Public Appointments in Wales, please visit

How to apply

To apply for this role, click on the ‘Apply’ button below. The first time you apply for a post, you will need to complete a registration form for the Welsh Government’s online application system. You will only need to register once, and you will be able to keep yourself updated on the progress of your application, and any other applications you make, via your registered account.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to access the application form. To apply you will need to upload a personal statement and CV to the ‘Reasons for applying’ section of the online application form.

The personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria set out in the person specification in para 14, Annex A. How you choose to present the information is up to you. However, you should aim to provide detailed examples that demonstrate how your knowledge and experience matches each of the criteria, and which describe what your role was in achieving a specific result. It will also benefit the selection panel if you can be clear which particular evidence you provide relates to which criteria. Providing separate paragraphs in relation to each criterion is common practice.

Please limit your personal statement to two pages. Your application may be rejected if you exceed this limit.

Please ensure your CV includes brief details of your current or most recent post and the dates you occupied this role. Please identify any past or present Ministerial appointments.

In your application, you will also be asked to provide details of any activities which have helped you to develop skills that would be useful in a public appointment role, and list the organisations for which you undertook these activities. We also need to know about any political activity that you’ve undertaken over the last 5 years.

It is recommended that you register for an account and access the application form as soon as possible so that you see how the application form is structured, before starting to prepare your evidence. You don’t have to complete the application form all in one go. You can save your responses, and log in and out as required, until you’re ready to submit – just follow the guidance in the application form.

If you need any further assistance in applying for this role, please contact the Welsh Government’s Corporate Shared Service Centre Helpdesk on 029 2082 5454 or

For further information about Public Appointments in Wales, please visit

Commissioner for Public Appointments logo

This vacancy is closed to applications.