The House of Commons Library
is the library and information resource of the lower house
of the British Parliament
. It has adopted the phrase "Contributing to a well-informed democracy" as a summary of its mission statement.
The Library was established in 1818 and a purpose-designed library was built for it by Sir John Soane
and completed in 1828. This building, along with much of the mediaeval Palace of Westminster
, to which it was added, was destroyed by fire in 1834.
In the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster
by Sir Charles Barry
and Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin
, the Library was given four large rooms on the river front of the principal floor of the new palace, each 40 feet by 25 feet and some 20 ft high. This suite was fully opened by 1852, and two additional rooms added in the mid/late 1850s. One of these was to compensate for the loss of Room D, which was taken over by Speaker Denison and his successors as their private library (It was not restored until the 1960s).
The Library was stocked with some 30,000 books majoring in history, topography, literature, biography and politics, as well as the official papers of the House. Almost alone among contemporary parliamentary libraries, from about 1860 onwards, the staff were given free rein to determine the scope of the collection.
In 1945-46, the House of Commons reorganised its library on modern lines. A Research Division was created, to provide briefings to Members, and to answer their... Read More