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A visit opens new avenues for research: the House of Commons Library

February 17th, 2012 by Nazlin Bhimani in Library and Archives, Research Support

House of Commons Library

Wednesday was a pretty special day for me as I managed to get on the Annual Open Day for Librarians and Information officers at the House of Commons Library which is offered to members of the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries (cpd25).

The Department of Information Services (made up of  librarians, archivists and researchers including statisticians) at the House of Commons organised a full day with lectures, demos and tours.  The lectures were enlightening in that we were informed of how the various sections in the Library support the MPs and their researchers.  The purpose of the House of Commons Library, since its inception in 1818, is to ensure that the House is well informed about the business that comes before it and that individual members of parliament have all the necessary information to carry out their parliamentary duties, both at Westminster and in their constituencies.  There is also an Information Office whose remit is to ensure that the public is made aware of the importance of Parliament.

The House of Commons Library is both print-based (with approximately 100,000 books, newspapers and magazines) and electronic (databases and journals).  The Library team deal with about 30,000 enquiries a year and support 82% of the MPs and their personal researchers.  The Commons and Lords Libraries and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) produce research papers on issues being discussed in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  These are available online at  They are referred to as ‘briefings’ or ‘standard notes’ and according to the online glossary, “the Commons Research Papers are an in-depth and impartial analysis of every major piece of primary legislation and on other major topics of public and parliamentary concern” and some include statistics. The Commons Standard Notes are shorter and are often written on topical questions answering frequently asked questions.  The librarians also create Debate Packs on current and forthcoming debates in the Commons but since these are confidential, they are not available to the public. Read the rest of this entry »

UK Government Spending Review 2010

October 20th, 2010 by Frances in Library and Archives

The Chancellor set out the UK Government’s four-year public spending plans in the Spending Review 2010 at 12:30 on 20 October 2010.  Spending Review 2010 is available from TSO’s Official Documents website at: and through the Library Catalogue.

You can see details on the HM Treasury website at:

For news coverage, visit: . .