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Amina Shah, CILIPS 2021 Vice-President, to become National Librarian of Scotland

Category: News

Amina Shah standing in front of the National Library of Scotland

CILIPS is delighted that our 2021 Vice President and 2022 President, Amina Shah, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive and National Librarian at the National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland notes that Amina ‘brings a wealth of leadership experience from both public and academic libraries to the Chief Executive role’, joining NLS from the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums and having previously served as Director of Programme at the Scottish Book Trust – ‘a role that was instrumental in promoting literacy and a diverse reading and writing community in Scotland’.

A former CEO of the Scottish Library and Information Council, Amina led on the development of Scotland’s first National Strategy for Public Libraries. With more than 25 years’ experience in the sector, she has a strong interest in diversity and inclusion, and in the role that libraries, literature and culture play in empowering individuals and communities.

Chair of the National Library of Scotland, Simon Learoyd said:

‘I am delighted that our new Chief Executive will be Amina Shah. In a large and very strong field of candidates, Amina impressed us all with her obvious passion for the Library and everything it represents and aspires to be. Amina is massively ambitious for the Library and its place in wider Scottish society. She brings a huge amount of experience of Scottish culture and leadership in the library sector in particular. I have every confidence that she will be a great Chief Executive of the Library taking us into our centenary year in 2025.’

Amina said:

‘It is a great honour and privilege to have this opportunity to lead the Library in the next chapter of its story. I am excited to get to work with the team, the Board and the people of Scotland to shape and share our incredible collections and to use them to support our recovery from the educational, cultural and economic inequalities brought about by the pandemic.

‘Scotland has always been a nation of bards and blethers, and I believe there is no better way for us to understand ourselves, each other and the world around us, than to capture the stories of today, treasure them for the future and share them widely within our communities and across the world.’

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said:

‘I welcome the appointment of Amina Shah as Chief Executive of the National Library. Its collections are internationally renowned, and the Library is constantly finding new ways to engage the people of Scotland and beyond with innovative and entertaining content.

‘Ms Shah has a strong track record in ensuring people from all walks of life benefit from literature and culture, and her leadership will ensure the Library continues its progression to become a place that everyone can call ‘their’ library.’

Amina will take up her post as Chief Executive and National Librarian on 4 October. The current National Librarian, Dr John Scally, retires on 1 October.

Head of CILIPS Sean McNamara said:

‘We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Amina during her time at SLIC, Scottish Book Trust and the University of St Andrews and we wish her all the best in her new role as Chief Executive of the National Library and National Librarian.

Amina brings talent, skill, energy and passion to all of her work and will be an excellent appointment. We were delighted to welcome Amina as Vice-President of CILIPS this year (and President in 2022) and we are all very much looking forward to working with her even more in the future as the National Library approaches its centenary year with many exciting plans in place.’

Many, many congratulations to Amina from all at CILIPS!

We would also like to thank outgoing National Librarian Dr John Scally for his outstanding contribution to the LIS landscape in Scotland and wish him a very happy retirement in October.

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