Vacancy -- President – National Library of Wales

Vacancy Details

National Library of Wales

Do you want to help us to position the Library at the heart of information planning in Wales and enable us to mobilise our skills and our collections to enhance our public service and further broaden our range of users? The National Library, as a national institution, wants to make a significant difference to the culture, the society and the economy of Wales. The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism is seeking to appoint a new President to the National Library of Wales.

The National Library of Wales was established by Royal Charter on the 19th of March 1907 and is recognised as one of the great libraries of the world. Its collections include books and periodicals, manuscripts, archival documents, maps and photographs, as well as paintings, photographs, films, videos and sound recordings and electronic publications and archives.  The Library is one of the UK’s legal deposit libraries and is recognized as the leading research centre for Welsh and Celtic studies, and family history.  It maintains a varied programme of exhibitions throughout the year and arranges lectures, film screenings and conferences in the ‘Drwm’, its auditorium.

The National Library of Wales is also a registered charity (registered number: 525775) and a Welsh Government Sponsored Body (WGSB). A Framework Document drawn up by CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales (CyMAL) in 2010 and in consultation with the National 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 270 members of staff. In 2015-16 it will receive £10.26 million in grant-in-aid from the Welsh Government.

The Library is Wales’s pre-eminent library and archive.  It is at once a massive information resource on all subjects, freely available to everyone, and a living store of the recorded cultures of Wales.  In reality there are two dimensions to the National Library - a splendid physical building in Aberystwyth housing the print, manuscript, visual and audio-visual collections, and an online library available through the internet.  The Library has five core functions: collecting, preserving, giving access and information, publicising and interpreting, and professional collaboration.

The President will chair the Board of Trustees, which is the governing body of the Library. All Trustees share collective responsibility and accountability for the Board’s decisions.  The role of the Board is to provide effective leadership, define and develop strategic direction and set challenging objectives.  The Board promotes high standards of public accountability and upholds the principles of regularity, propriety and value for money.  It ensures that the Library’s activities are conducted efficiently and effectively and monitors performance to ensure that the Library fully meets its aims, objectives and performance targets.

The Library’s Board of Trustees comprises 15 Trustees.  Eight are appointed by the Welsh Government and seven by the Library. The Trustees include three Officers of the Board – the President, Vice President and the Treasurer. The President and Vice President are appointed by the Welsh Government and the Treasurer is appointed by the Library itself.

The Board meets around 7 times a year and is chaired by the President. The current President, Professor Sir Deian Hopkin, will be stepping down at the end of November 2015.

Although the Board is ultimately responsible for everything the Library does, it is the Chief Executive and Librarian who is responsible to the Trustees for the day-to-day operational management of the institution. He in turn has an Executive Team, comprising the Head of Collections and Public Programmes; the Head of Corporate Resources; and the Secretary and Head of Governance. The Chief Executive and Librarian and his Executive Team support the Board by ensuring that the Library achieves its corporate aims and objectives and fulfils its full range of functions. 

Trustees need to be clear about the nature of their relationship with the public. The Board’s role is to direct and control the Library in the public interest and to ensure accountability to the public.  Trustees are accountable to the public and should develop a dialogue that connects the Library properly with the public they serve. To this end, the Board has established an ‘Advisory Body’ of 32 members including key stakeholders and a representation from amongst the public and Library users. The Body normally meets twice per annum and its proceedings are reported back to the Board of Trustees for consideration.

The President will be one of the Trustees of the Library. All Trustees have responsibilities as the trustee of a charity and as a member of a Welsh Government Sponsored Body.  These are laid out in Charity Commission advice on the relationship between charities and the state ( and the Framework Document, which sets out the Terms and Conditions of Welsh Government funding to the Library.

Participation as a Trustee is not intended to be participation based on meetings alone.  Trustees are invited to attend Library events and act as ambassadors to the wider world. They are occasionally invited to join Library working groups where their experience would be of particular practical assistance.

As a Trustee you will:

• Provide effective leadership for the Library

• Promote high standards of public finance

• 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



The Royal Charter states that there will be a President who chairs the Board of Trustees.  The President is responsible for formulating the Board’s strategies and ensuring that in reaching decisions the Board and takes proper account of its statutory and financial management requirements.  The President will ensure that the Board’s policies and actions support the wider strategic policies and requirements set by the Welsh Government.   The Regulations adopted by the Board set out the wide-ranging powers of the President in relation to conduct of meetings including ruling on sensitive issues such as items to be treated as confidential, and adjournments.

The Regulations also provide for the President to be a member of the Officers Committee, which can act with full powers of the Board in relation to urgent matters requiring decisions that arise between meetings.

In addition to the requirements of a Trustee, which are detailed above, the President:

• chairs all meetings of the Board of Trustees;

• chairs other Library Committees (with the exception of the Audit Committee) in the absence of the appointed Chair;

• meets with the sponsoring Minister (currently the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism) every six months;

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

• liaises with the Chief Executive and Librarian and the Secretary of the Board as necessary;

• represents 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;

• represents the Library at public functions.

The President is responsible for ensuring that the Library:

• represents the Board’s views effectively and accurately;

• develops its key relationship with the Welsh Government, sector bodies and other key stakeholders;

• effectively accomplishes its statutory objectives, its general functions and responsibilities and practices its legal powers appropriately;

• realises the Board’s strategies and plans for the future and delivers its services in line with agreed targets and performance indicators.

The President also:

• represents the Library before the press;

• directs the Library’s development, policies and strategic plans;

• in cooperation with the Chief Executive and Librarian, conveys the Library’s plans and that which it has achieved for stakeholders, including the Library’s staff, the Welsh Government and the public;

• ensures that Board Members operate in line with good practice in terms of governance and the principles of the Nolan standards in public life;

• works with the Welsh Government to appoint Members of the Board and ensure that they receive an induction session and effective assistance;

• with members of the Board, establishes, monitors and reviews governance arrangements, structures, systems and processes; and

• directs, supports and manages the Chief Executive and Librarian including agreeing objectives and conducting an annual evaluation in consultation with the Vice President and Treasurer.

To be effective, the Board needs Trustees with a broad range of expertise and experience.  As a Trustee you would help determine policy, strategies and priorities in the Library’s core activities.  You should be able to draw on your own knowledge, skills and experience to provide evidence of your abilities in the following areas:

• a commitment and enthusiasm for the Library’s work;

• an understanding of the cultural sector as a whole;

• contributing effectively in discussion, decision making and debate;

• working in a collegiate manner with fellow Trustees;

• management experience in a business, institutional, administrative or other context, with an appreciation of the distinction between the strategic function and the executive function;

• an understanding of the relationship between the Library and the Welsh Government; 

• the ability to work in a bilingual environment and have a strong commitment to, and respect and understanding of, bilingualism and the Welsh language in the cultural sphere and communities of Wales.

• a commitment to equality issues and challenging discriminatory practices when appropriate;

• a commitment to Nolan’s ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ (



The post of President requires a person of stature and vision capable of leading a national institution. The President will also possess the following skills and qualities as well as those of a Trustee set out above:

• Experience of working at Board level or within any equivalent, complex organisation;

• the ability to differentiate between executive responsibilities and non-executive responsibilities and establish a working relationship with the Chief Executive and Librarian;

• a track record of a commitment to equality and diversity;

• ability to build effective relationships and represent the National Library of Wales;

• strong ambassadorial and social skills that can be used to influence external individuals and organisations to be positive towards the Library. This applies to relationships with the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government, and also with potential donors, partners and the press;

• the relevant skills to chair meetings, including meetings of the Board of Trustees, in an effective, constructive and inclusive way;

• ability to act as an informal leader of the Library, opening exhibitions, welcoming important visitors, visiting other locations etc.; 

• advanced skills in public speaking, interpersonal relations, negotiation and advocacy;

• ability to speak and write fluently in both Welsh and English.  

The majority of Board meetings are held in Aberystwyth and one meeting is held elsewhere in Wales.

Travel and other reasonable receipted expenses incurred in carrying out work on behalf of the Board can be claimed from the Library within the recognised limits.  You may also be eligible to claim reimbursement for costs in relation to child care/care of the elderly/assistant carer, whilst carrying out work on behalf of either body.

Trustees are not remunerated.  At the request of the Welsh Government (and in accordance with its policy on remuneration of Welsh Government Sponsored Body members) the former Court of Governors of the Library agreed to include in its proposals for revising the Charter the inclusion of a power to remunerate Board members.  However, the Charity Commission has made clear that, while it does not object to this, any subsequent proposal to use the power to pay Trustees generally, or individual Trustees, will have to be justifiable to the Commission as being in the interest of the Charity.


Welsh Language

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.

Interview Dates

8 December 2015
8 December 2015

Closing Date

05/11/2015, 23:55
Commissioner for Public Appointments logo

This vacancy is closed to applications.