Abstract

Britain's House of Commons and House of Lords Libraries have a lengthy history beginning with small collections of books and papers in the eighteenth century and evolving into today's large organizations offering a sophisticated range of services. The central theme of this article is the conservatism of these institutions over most of their history, with the creation of modern library facilities only beginning in 1945 for the Commons Library (a process that did not accelerate until some three decades later) and in 1976 for the Lords. By way of comparison I will discuss: the U.S. Library of Congress (founded in 1800); Japan's National Diet Library (created in the postwar reconstruction in 1948); and, to offer an example of a smaller country, Ireland's Oireachtas Library. In summarizing the history of the British parliamentary libraries, I have also tried to indicate some ways in which we might draw upon this historical experience to identify fruitful new future directions for libraries supporting legislatures throughout the world.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0682
Print ISSN
0024-2594
Pages
pp. 472-485
Launched on MUSE
2010-08-08
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.