The House of Lords Library


The House of Lords Library provides impartial research and information services to Members of the House of Lords, their staff and the staff of the House.

The Lords Library’s collections are primarily focused on the parliamentary needs of Members and staff. The collection includes deposited papers, which are placed in the Library by a Minister, as a result of parliamentary proceedings, such as questions or debates. Digital deposited papers (since 2007) can be viewed on the Parliament website. Older deposited papers can be viewed, by arrangement with the Parliamentary Archives enquiry service.

In addition, the House of Lords Library has several ‘special’ collections which are unique collections and of antiquarian value. Access to the special collections can be requested by members of the public with a research interest, via the Parliamentary Archives.

Read the Library Impact Report 2015-16 (PDF PDF 1.66 MB) to learn more about what we do and our future plans to support Members and staff.


Research

The Lords Library produces research briefings which provide politically impartial analysis of legislation and issues debated in the House of Lords, or of topical interest to its Members.

Recent briefings

All research briefings

Briefings on the House of Lords

Brexit round-up 


Deposited papers

Deposited papers are placed in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords Library by a Minister or the Speaker or Lord Speaker. The majority of papers are placed by Ministers as a result of parliamentary proceedings, such as questions or debates.


Special Collections in the House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library holds a number of special collections. These include individual items of particular value because of their age, rarity, provenance or bindings, as well as unique and distinctive collections. Many titles are listed on the English Short Title Catalogue. Members of the public with research interests in the special collections may apply to consult items via the Parliamentary Archives.

Examples of the Lords Library's Special Collections include:

  • Peel Tracts: pamphlets collected by Sir Robert Peel, whilst Chief Secretary for Ireland
  • Civil War pamphlets: a variety of tracts published during the English Civil War and Interregnum
  • Truro Collection: a legal collection of nearly 3000 books (dating from 1490 to the 19th century) donated by the widow of Lord Chancellor Truro in 1856
  • Gillray Collection: an extensive collection of Gillray cartoons, bequeathed to the Library by Sir William Augustus Fraser in 1899. A catalogue of the Gillray collection (PDF PDF 2.03 MB) with an introductory note was published in February 2017.

History of Hansard

Hansard has been producing the Official Report of proceedings in the House of Lords and the House of Commons since 1909 but an unofficial version dates from 1803. The history of full reports of proceedings in Parliament stretches back to the English civil war. The reporting of political events begins even earlier, through ancient Greece to the ancient Egyptians.  

In April 2017, along with House of Lords Hansard, the Library published The History of Hansard (PDF PDF 1.82 MB). This publication, written by John Vice and Stephen Farrell, traces the many strands in the history of parliamentary reporting.

 

About the House of Lords Library

The Library forms part of the Department of Information Services, together with the Parliamentary Archives and the House of Lords External Communications. The Director of Library Services is Patrick Vollmer.

The main library is located on the principal floor of the Palace of Westminster, and there is also a branch on the ground floor of Millbank House.

The Library of the House of Lords was created in 1826, when a Select Committee of Peers decided that it should be set up primarily as a repository for English law books.


Services for Members of the House of Lords

The House of Lords Library provides a bespoke and confidential research and reference enquiry service to Members of the House of Lords, their staff and the staff of the House in support of their Parliamentary duties. Members can make enquiries by telephone, email or at our face-to-face enquiry points.

The Library also provides Members and their staff with bespoke introductions to the Library’s services and information skills training to support access to the wide range of print and online resources in our collection.

Lords enquiry service

Contact the House of Lords enquiry service with general questions about the Lords:

  • Telephone: 0800 223 0855 (Freephone) or 020 7219 3107
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Text Relay: 18001 7219 3107

Lords publications

Get free copies of House of Lords publications and briefings

Lords Hansard

Read the latest Lords Hansard for a detailed word by word report of the work in the chamber