The British Library Reviews in United Kingdom | Glassdoor

The British Library UK Reviews

Updated February 26, 2017
11 reviews

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United Kingdom

3.5
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The British Library CEO Roley Keating
Roley Keating
6 Ratings

11 Employee Reviews

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  1. "It's a good place to work, but with some downsides."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work/life balance, and doing something important for society is very satisfying. Lots of long-term employees in the organisation.

    Cons

    Salary isn't competitive, making recruitment and retention challenging, particularly in the IT department which is always running seriously below minimum capacity. Career opportunities are limited.


  2. "Senior Imaging Technician"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Image Technician in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Image Technician in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The British Library full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to work, lovely team and a very supportive management. Very interesting building to work in, good hours and holiday entitlement.

    Cons

    Sometimes things get tied up in bureaucracy but such is the nature of working for a large non-departmental public body .


  3. "Frustrating and with an out of touch Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston Spa, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston Spa, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at The British Library (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent flexi-time
    On-site canteen is great and very cheap.
    Easy to get to, if you have a car.
    Interesting work
    Training opportunities
    Final salary pension - but for how long?

    Cons

    Out of touch senior management.
    Some completely clueless middle managers who only want to make sure they did not get the blame.
    Low salary in comparison to the private sector.
    Pay bands mean it is is impossible to pay senior staff more than junior staff members.
    No chance of promotion or pay rises (government pay cap)
    Very high attrition rate of many long term staff, who are not being replaced. Existing team members were just expected to cover their workload.

    With an increasing workload, performing many different roles, some way outside my job description, no career prospects or even a pay rise, the writing was on the wall. Add the sheer frustration of not being able to change some of the ridiculous working practices and processes and you have the most frustrating place I have ever worked.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your long term staff and promote from within.
    Stop wasting money on contractors and ridiculous proof of concepts.
    Their is no easy 'off the shelf ' solution that will fix all your problems, the BL has a special job to do and it needs specialist software and specialist knowledge and experience to deliver sustainable solutions.


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  5. "Overall a great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at The British Library full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great mission.
    Nice location.
    Excellent training for staff.

    Cons

    Risk averse.
    No clear career progression path.Could be stuck in one role for years.

    Advice to Management

    Do fewer things better.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "flagging national treasure"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The British Library full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Wonderful institution with some great staff and great projects. I was proud to work there.
    Some good managers.
    Good work/life balance but I see that changing as massive cuts bite and over-ambitious CEO piles more and more new projects onto less staff.

    Cons

    Woeful senior management, lack of real strategy and clear decision making leads to paralysis.
    A lot of time-servers that need to modernise or move on.
    Constant restructuring
    CEO seems to have forgotten a library is essentially a research centre

    Advice to Management

    Get some focus, preferably on research users rather than just Twitter users


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Boston Spa: Good place, hampered by politics, budget cuts."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston Spa, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston Spa, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Lovely location out in the countryside,
    good hours,
    great work/life balance provided you have a decent manager.

    Cons

    Terrible politics - lots of folks building their empires, grievances against other people, unwillingness to change working practices leads to an atmosphere of disillusionment and apathy.

    The buildings are frankly below par. The main building smells really strange, and the corridors are freezing.

    Advice to Management

    Try and lose some of the 'for life' employees.


  8. "british libray"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at The British Library full-time

    Pros

    very good to work for well looked after

    Cons

    nothing that really comes to mind


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Great People, slow work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Intern in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The British Library part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The British Library has a lot of great, intelligent people and it is a very relaxed environment. It was a great learning opportunity for anyone who is interested in research or information management.

    Cons

    The work is very slow and not at all demanding. There is hardly an opportunity to work with any large projects or teams much less manage them. The library also has a no reference policy for interns applying to future employers and they are never hiring which defeats the purpose of interning for someone looking for a job in the near future.

    Advice to Management

    Please stop restructuring everything in the library, it has created an unstable work environment.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Currently at least, the whole place is consumed by a terrible negative atmosphere."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Decent internal training courses provided.
    Flexible hours.
    Generous annual leave.
    Relaxed atmosphere.
    Given autonomy to take responsibility for own workload.

    Cons

    Impossible to have your voice heard by senior management. Any advice offered is always ignored.
    In I.T. pay is terrible.
    Very negative atmosphere and sense of inertia.

    Advice to Management

    Try to stop politics and competition between divisions from getting work done.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Decent for a job, not a career"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Some of the staff can be very supportive and helpful. Will teach you many things.

    Cons

    Some of the staff won't want to teach you anything. Keep it like a guarded secret.
    You generally need to "suck up" to advance or keep your head low, as someone will always give you a reputation.
    They love hierarchy there and will remind you of your status frequently.
    Management is seen to always be on the lookout to cut jobs, so you have to always be busy unless you are friendly with the management.

    Advice to Management

    Appreciate your workers more. Base progression on performance not who has scratched each other's backs.



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