Because of the changing needs of its customers, the National Library of Scotland (NLS) has plans in the works to update and develop services and functions for the 21st century.

As one of the major research libraries in Europe, Scotland NLS is the only legal deposit library that has a copy anything published in the UK. Material is held in over 490 languages, and free access is offered  to a collection of over 14 million items which include rare and valuable items such as the last letter written by Mary Queen of Scots and the Gutenberg Bible of 1455.

There are 70,000 visits each year to the reading room and about 2.5 million calls on the digital library, brining to life Scotland’s history and culture. NLS is currently in the process of digitizing the collection of 410,000 items started in 2010 and continuing on in 2011.

The Bill will define the functions of NLS and update 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 will 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 will also reduce the size of the Board, remove reserved places and ensure all appointments are made by Scottish Ministers based on merit and selection. This will bring NLS into line with current public appointments practice following the Nolan Principles.

A public consultation carried out between March and June 2010 showed broad support for the Government’s proposals. Respondents recognised that governance reform is required to allow NLS to fulfil its organisational ambitions.

Please click on The Scottish Government Riaghaltas na h-Alba to read the entire article. Notice the differences in spelling  of UK English versus  American English.

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