The British Library
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The British Library Employee Reviews

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United Kingdom33 reviews
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3.0
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the british library is a glorified internet café with no hope for promotion. pay rise was once in five years. definitely an us and them culture with a lot of snobbery.
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1.0
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Managers who have never managed a highly technical team do not understand systems and making seriously bad decisions without consulting the experts. People leading projects without technical understand of very complex systems.

Bad bullying culture and no salary progression.
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5.0
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This was a great place to work, just a shame their was no permanent job opportunity there for me. The management were great and the balnce between work, home, and social life was a huge benefit.
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2.0
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Reading through previous reviews there are some negative comments and unfortunately from my experience I have to broadly agree.

Poor communications.


Inadequate people management skills.


Reviews, projects, restructures badly handled.


Some friendly/supportive colleagues but overall a draining atmosphere.
Pros
Pension. Flexi working
Cons
Insensitive managers. Poor communications. The good people leave.
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5.0
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It is a nice working environment.
It can be relax as in the reading rooms and many offices but can be every demanding, fast paced and stressful as in some basements and some storage areas.However, effective teamwork and cooperation with colleagues help in managing the demand and the stress.
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2.0
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Poor management, bullying culture. A number of union representatives seem to run the place with management afraid of them. Projects never run to time so they always miss deadlines and opportunities.
The whole place is stuck in a time warp!

Flexi time, reasonable money and good holidays are the only reason people stay.
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5.0
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Been working in the African and Asian department in the BL since April 2019, great people to work with, great boss, they encourage you to apply for internal vacancies, everyone is so laid back, happy, love coming to work here.
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3.0
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It really is about as stale as it gets staff spend most of their days walking to and from the coffee machine. Management is made up of people who haven’t got a clue what there doing. You have to jump through several hoops to get anything to happen. Very dated 60’s style work place basically a retirement village. Makes your brain cells melt every day you work!
Pros
Decent pension
Cons
Nearly everything else
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3.0
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Fun and catch Envoirment, is the company that run the contract is too stretched over all. otherwise fun envoirment, busy with a good vibe. decent food
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1.0
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Despite the lack of pay rise and career progression over 10years I generally enjoyed and felt proud working at the British Library but unfortunately the organisation has no appreciation of their staff. Management decide and the unions cannot help. Was lucky to have good colleagues but no support from full time staff
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1.0
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Management take credit for their staff’s work; very hierarchical – don’t expect to get any assistance from anyone higher up in the pecking order; expect bullying, favouritism and refusal to listen, complaints protocols stitched up in management’s favour. Different departments don’t talk to each other. Expect moving goalposts if applying for a job - and spelling mistakes; spelling mistakes by the British Library.
Pros
Physical environment is ok, good travel links, pay as expected for heritage/culture sector, some autonomy, Civil Service Pension.
Cons
Bullying, blame culture, hierarchical, favouritism.
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1.0
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Worked here for some time. Honestly in the retail shop, there's a few genuinely nice staff members, but the rest; a bunch of miserable & toxic staff members, half of them don't want to be there, and they'll bring you down after a while, with their misery. One malicious staff member in particular, offended by the slightest of things and openly start arguments with you...and customers! Hot headed manager who's completely unprofessional, and lacks any sort of responsibility, will be passive-aggressive, and boils over with anger...will panic/argue over the smallest of issues. Blatant racism. The least professional job i've had. Unless you like to be miserable and complain about the job and/or life in general, you'll love it! Otherwise AVOID.
Pros
Free tickets to exhibitions most of the time.
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5.0
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This is a very great place to work.
I had emergency surgery and was unable to leave the house for almost a month and they accommodated my request to WFH with no questions.

Not sure if it was just my manager that was great or the entire organisation with their policies but Overall they are great to work for
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2.0
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The best parts about working at the library are the flexible working hours as well as holidays. Way too many managers whom have no idea what they are doing, there is also a lack of knowledge accross the board. A lot of things are dependant on xyz person.

When things go wrong everyone is looking for someone to blame.

Highly uncertain on future as the Library is going through a transformation but very little information is given to employees.

Most teams in IT extremely understaffed yet workload goes up, no incentive to keep people and not able to hire anyone decent due to pay levels. Pay bands exist but wage is never uplifted, poor progression in general.


Most people are nice in all teams but work is very repatative.

A lot of credit taking by managers that do nothing and general dumbness. Many projects taken up but nothing ever delivered on time or working.


Meant to be diverse but all managers/decision makers are white.
Pros
Flexible working hours
Cons
Lack of knowledge, too many managers
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2.0
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The best parts about working at the library are the flexible working hours as well as holidays. Way too many managers whom have no idea what they are doing, there is also a lack of knowledge accross the board. A lot of things are dependant on xyz person.

When things go wrong everyone is looking for someone to blame.

Highly uncertain on future as the Library is going through a transformation but very little information is given to employees.

Most teams in IT extremely understaffed yet workload goes up, no incentive to keep people and not able to hire anyone decent due to pay levels. Pay bands exist but wage is never uplifted, poor progression in general.


Most people are nice in all teams but work is very repatative.

A lot of credit taking by managers that do nothing and general dumbness. Many projects taken up but nothing ever delivered on time or working.


Meant to be diverse but all managers/decision makers are white.
Pros
Flexible working hours
Cons
Lack of knowledge, too many managers
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2.0
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Projects overrun and are over budget, decisions and issues take forever to get a resolution and communication is poor which makes for a very frustrating place to work. Although t’s & c’s are good, there are constant rounds of redundancies and restructures which in my experience were handled very badly and most people at the northern site were fed up. Some good initiatives such as wellbeing, CI and SLT integration but they end up being tick box exercises with no substance behind them.
Pros
Good salary and pension. Some nice people.
Cons
Red tape and over complicated processes, insensitive managers dealing with restructures and redundancy situations.
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3.0
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Flexi time is great, easy to grasp jobs, Wetherby site is mentaly draining. Most of the managers have worked there way up over the years through the library, Little or no outside job experience. This makes for very poor management with a bullying culture. If there is a way to waist time and money the BL will find it. HR department are completely incompetent, hence not been able to keep staff with many off sick with stress.
Pros
Flexi time
Cons
Bullying culture
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2.0
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I worked in the British library for nearly 12 years. Library work is changing as digital records take over from physical media. I worked in the basement and reading rooms. The Library was moving from long term permanent staff to contract workers, and working with Google and Microsoft
Pros
Holiday time
Cons
Poor pay
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2.0
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poor atmosphere. I worked here for 6 months and couldn't wait to get away. There is a very nasty blame culture. Managers are lazy and will spend hours playing with the internet instead of working. Poor
Pros
Easy job
Cons
Blame culture
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5.0
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A well presented highly personable and efficient event’s organiser with an ability to work independently in a changing and multi-tasking environment with numerous and competing deadlines.
Pros
free lunch
Cons
long hours
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3.0
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Staff are extremely friendly and helpful.
Lots of specialisms regarding Collections as well as back office roles

Flexible working

Based on two sites with travel between if role requires
Pros
Flexible working
Cons
Pay has been frozen
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