Public appointment: Chair appointed to the National Library of Scotland Board

Public appointments news release.

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The Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Ms Gilruth, today announced the appointment of Sir Drummond Bone as Chair of the National Library of Scotland Board.

Jenny Gilruth, Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development said:

“I warmly congratulate Sir Drummond Bone on his appointment as Chair of the National Library of Scotland. He has had an illustrious career as an expert in English literature and is a known specialist on the works of Byron – a legendary writer who spent his childhood in Scotland and who has a strong presence in the National Library’s collections.

“Sir Drummond Bone has also held impressive leadership roles in the wider culture sector and this highly relevant experience will be invaluable to the National Library as it approaches its centenary in 2025.”


Sir Drummond Bone was educated at Ayr Academy, Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford.  Drummond Bone began his career as a professor of English, noted particularly for his work on Byron.  His first appointment was at the University of Warwick but in 1980 he returned to Glasgow.  After 20 years at the University of Glasgow, where latterly he was Senior Vice-Principal, he became Principal at Royal Holloway University of London, Vice-Chancellor at Liverpool and Master of Balliol College from which he retired in 2018.

He was President of University UK and Chair of the UK Libraries Research Reserve Project.  He was Chair of the Liverpool Capitol of Culture Company, Vice-Chair of the Northern Way and Chair of its Science and Innovation Committee, sat on the CBI’s Technology and Innovation Committee and has been a consultant to many organisations involved in international Higher Education.

He is currently Chair of the Wordssworth Trust.  He has a MA Degrees from Glasgow and Oxford Universities, a D.Univ from Glasgow and a D.Ed from Edinburgh, as well as a number of Honorary degrees in literature.  He is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College.


This appointment will be for four years and will run from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2025.

This appointment is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


This appointment is part-time with a time commitment of up to four days per month. Appointments to the National Library of Scotland Board are not remunerated.

Other ministerial appointments

Sir Drummond Bone does not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.   

Sir Drummond Bone has not had any political activity in the last five years.


The National Library of Scotland is the guardian of the printed and recorded memory of Scotland, held on behalf of the nation.  It fulfils a statutory role as one of the nation’s most significant cultural and research organisations and operates within the context of the Scottish Government’s national outcomes and strategic objectives, including public service reform.  The National Library is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots.  It is the largest library in Scotland with over 34 million items and is one of the six Legal Deposit Libraries entitled to claim a copy of every printed and electronic work published in the UK and Ireland under the terms of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2013.  The Library’s collections include rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, music, moving image and official publications.

Its key priorities take account of its statutory functions of safeguarding and developing its collections, providing access and opportunities for engagement, encouraging learning and research, whilst contributing to the understanding of Scotland’s national culture as a country with a rich heritage and a vibrant future.  Core funded by the Scottish Government, it is governed by a Board which is accountable to the public through Ministers and the Scottish Parliament for the discharging of the functions defined in the National Library of Scotland Act 2012, and for the overall vision, strategy and corporate performance of the Library.

Further information about the Library is available at

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