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National Library of Scotland Bill

16/05/2012

Legislation to modernise the functions and governance of Scotland’s National Library was passed with unanimous support by the Scottish Parliament today. 

The Bill is designed to strengthen the National Library of Scotland’s role in safeguarding and sharing its collections and to support its work bringing the nation's history and culture to life. This afternoon’s Stage 3 Parliamentary Debate comes just days after the Culture Secretary announced more than £2 million of Scottish Government funding towards renovations at the National Library of Scotland’s storage facility at Causewayside in Edinburgh.

Welcoming Parliament’s support for the Bill, Fiona Hyslop said:

“One of Europe’s major research and reference libraries, the National Library of Scotland (NLS) is one of our national treasures.  It offers world-class collections and a range of modern library services for the 21st century.

“It is important that legislation keeps pace with the requirement to preserve and develop our National Collections for generations to come.  This Bill, along with the funding I announced earlier this week, will ensure NLS fulfils that purpose, now and in the future.

“The Bill captures the main functions of the National Library and gives it a clear purpose, while the functions remain wide enough for the Library to keep developing as an ambitious organisation, enabling it to respond to new technological advances.

“I am delighted with the support this Bill has received in the Scottish Parliament in this, our Year of Creative Scotland.”

Professor Michael Anderson, Chair of the Board of Trustees of NLS, said:

"This is an important day for NLS. The legislation gives the Library the powers and the Board structure it needs to continue to develop as a modern, forward looking institution, providing high quality services to the people of Scotland and those further afield."

During the Debate Ms Hyslop highlighted some of the new ways in which the NLS shares its collections, including a travel app called ‘Great Escapes Moray’ developed by young local people with the help of archived film, images, maps and documents from NLS. 

Related Information: 

The NLS Bill defines the functions of NLS and updates its powers in line with those of modern public bodies. The National Library of Scotland Act of 1925 did not specifically provide for the Board’s functions, which have evolved over time. 

The functions reflect the role of NLS in relation to:

  • Preserving, conserving and developing the collections
  • Making the collections available to the public and to people wishing to carry out study and research
  • Exhibiting and interpreting objects in the collection.
  • Promoting collaboration and shared practice amongst the library community.   

The Bill also reduces the size of the Board, removing reserved places and ensuring all appointments are made by Scottish Ministers based on merit and selection, in line with current public appointments practice following the Nolan Principles. 

Funding announcement for NLS was made on May 14, 2012.