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 2014-15 to learn more about what we do and our future plans to support Members and staff.
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.
All research briefings
Briefings on the House of Lords
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
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 Information Office. The Department is led by the Director of Information Services and Librarian, Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith. 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.