Staff are key to the delivery of everything we want to achieve at the National Library of Scotland.
Training and development are essential in creating motivated and skilled people who have a clear sense of how they contribute to the Library's strategic priorities.
We employ approximately 320 staff covering a wide range of functions, roles and skills.
Meet some of the people who already work here and find out a little about what they do and why they enjoy working at the Library.
Freddie Alexander — Front of House Team Member
I am a member of the Front of House Team which is the first point of contact for most visitors to the Library's main building in Edinburgh. In an average day I can meet people with a variety of backgrounds, interests and nationalities. I was particularly drawn to this position due to the range of functions the Library has, from a research centre to a tourist attraction, and even a location for evening talks and functions.
There is an encouraging atmosphere of personal development at the Library, with frequent courses and workshops for skills such as teamwork and public speaking. I have also been encouraged to gain skills from other departments, and am able to volunteer with both the Reference Services and Collections Audit teams in order to bolster my CV.
I would highly recommend working at the National Library of Scotland. It has given me an invaluable space to discover my love for heritage and curation, while also being a hive of activity in central Edinburgh. No day is like another!
Amy McDonald — Engagement and Learning Co-ordinator
I've always been interested in connecting interesting collections with wider audiences. When I came across a project role involving sharing heritage audio collections it sounded right up my street.
My job is to liaise with a wide range of public audiences and with staff / volunteers caring for over 100 different museum, library, archive and private collections over the length and breadth of Scotland. In my role I organise a range of knowledge exchange events and public engagement activities across the country.
The opportunities to work with interesting people is a real highlight for me. Every day brings connections with new people through discussions. Working at the National Library offers a huge network of support and expertise and it's been great to get to know and work with staff from all areas of the Library through a variety of different collaborations.
The National Library is full of fascinating collections, innovative activities and supportive colleagues. It's a great place in which to work, increase the breadth and depth of your professional experience, and to keep learning.
Helen Keenlyside — Acquisitions Librarian
I joined the Library in 2014, after working in acquisitions at a university library. I was interested in working here because it involved working with a variety of material, and the fact that it was the National Library didn’t hurt!
As an Acquisitions Librarian, my job involves adding modern (post-1900) items to the Library’s collections. I liaise with our curators, and with publishers, booksellers, and donors, and can be called on to source a wide range of titles.
An aspect of my role that I particularly enjoy is handling donations. We receive all sorts of donated books, journals and ephemera, and it can be fascinating. My personal favourites have been collections of comics from the early 20th century.
I have been able to take advantage of many training and development opportunities at the Library, which have helped me grow on a professional and personal level. I am currently in the role of Minute Secretary for the SCURL Business Committee, which is a wonderful opportunity to learn about current events in the Scottish library sector.
Keisha Rowe — HR Assistant
I was drawn to working at the Library as I've always had an attraction to these public spaces. Even whilst at University, I used to spend time in the library where it would provide me with endless amounts of inspiration and comfort as I got lost in the historical archives of books and publications.
So after relocating from London and feeling incredibly homesick, I wanted to work in a place that would recapture some of those feelings that I once had at University; so the Library felt like a nice place to do this.
I decided to apply to work within HR as despite coming from a professional background in retail admin and customer service, I always enjoyed working with others and supporting teams in order to accomplish any organisational goals or objectives.
Everyone I have met here has been incredibly friendly and welcoming. I enjoy working at the Library, helping others and discovering all that it has to offer to the public.
Craig Robertson — Estates Officer
I've been working in the Library since 2013. I work in the Estates department, where we take care of the building's operation and maintenance. My role covers both on-going development of the estate and fabric maintenance. On a daily basis I can be doing anything from surveys from scaffolding, to creating and managing contracts and designing our next set of projects.
A recent project was the refurbishment of our Conservation Workshop, which included buying of bespoke laboratory furniture. This variety in my work is what I enjoy, with every day providing new opportunities to learn and develop, meet new people and work towards obtaining the next level of responsibilities.
I was first attracted to public service by the stability and benefits. I get a good holiday allowance, flexible working, an excellent pension and opportunities to learn and develop. Only last month I was on a 'back-of-house' tour of the Titanic Museum in Belfast to discuss how they manage their estate.
To anyone thinking of joining the Library I say 'Welcome to the family!
Fergus Mason — Access and Enquiries Assistant
I have moved around a lot within the Library. Like a lot of people working in this field, I've always liked libraries and was keen to try my hand in one — so I started with the National Library of Scotland's Conservation Volunteer Programme in the summer of 2014. I did a stint with the Front of House team, then volunteered with the Manuscripts team while completing a Masters in Information Management.
I'm currently working in the Kelvin Hall facility in Glasgow – the home of the Moving Image Archive — which opened in 2016. In an eclectic role, I do everything from handling genealogy enquiries to organising film screenings.
I really enjoy the range of roles within the Library — and the scope and scale of its collections. During my time here I've been able to work with materials ranging from early 20th century literary manuscripts to contemporary film – and have helped hundreds of people to access our collections.
Suzy Pope — Reader Services Assistant
In 2011, I applied for a part-time job in the Reading Rooms to fill the gap while I looked for a graduate job. Now I'm full-time, and have worked in four different departments. We have so much material, it's hard to envisage leaving without learning about every single thing in the Library!
I'm a Readers' Services Assistant, which mostly entails answering enquiries. These vary from simple questions about ordering journals or a lengthy family history search from a remote enquirer.
I also work in the General Reading Room at the Collection and Returns desk, so remote enquiry answering is mixed with giving out and returning material, and helping people use our catalogue and online resources. I enjoy helping our readers and try my best to create a welcoming environment for them.
Working with books in general is also a big reason I enjoy working at the Library. I particularly enjoyed working in International Collections, getting a taste of collections interpretation and development. The Library has also supported my CILIP accreditation
John Gibson — Acquisitions Assistant
I am an Acquisitions Assistant and my post involves stamping all bought, donated and legal deposit material with the Library stamp.
I also size all hardbacks to the same size shelves and box all paperbacks so that all available space is used on each shelf. I also make sure that invoices match to books purchased.
I enjoy working at the Library as you get a chance to see the new books that come in. I work with great and supportive colleagues. From time to time you can apply for promoted posts that become available.
If you want to apply for a job at the Library go for it!
Amy Todman — Manuscripts and Archives Curator
I first encountered the Library as a reader, working in the Special Collections Reading Room. Moving towards work in a library seemed like a natural step, first in Reference Services and then with the manuscript collections.
Career development is encouraged at the Library and although I had completed an MLitt and a PhD when I began working here, I have been supported in distance learning for an MA in Archive Administration.
My role is Curator of Political Collections (Manuscripts and Archives) and I manage a wide range of collections, including archives of pressure groups, diplomats and the creative community.
My job is incredibly varied and on any given day I might be out visiting potential donors to assess collections, answering enquiries from the public, giving talks or facilitating seminars with groups, processing and describing collections. It's a real privilege to work with people who are connected by our fabulous collections and the underpinning desire to share those with others. It's an amazing place to spend time — whatever you’re interested in there’s something for you here!