Guides to Commons Library Services


The House of Commons Library is a research and information service based in UK Parliament.

We provide politically impartial research, analysis, statistics and information resources. Our work helps MPs scrutinise legislation, prepare for debates, develop policies and support their constituents.

Our publications are available to everyone at

The easiest way to learn about the Commons Library is to book or arrange a ‘Make the most of the Library’ session.

In this one-hour course, you will:

  • Learn about the ready-made research available to you
  • Find out how to use our data-dashboards to access relevant statistics
  • Find out how the Library’s request service works
  • Discover the range of online resources available for both casework and policy research


1. Services for Members’ Staff

The Commons Library provides a range of services for MPs and their staff, including impartial research and access to resources and training.

Publications: Our publications offer politically impartial analysis and statistics. We cover legislation, topical issues, policy and constituency issues. Our briefings and data tools are written by our expert staff and are available online. Read about the different types of research:

Confidential Request Service: We answer MPs’ questions and requests for bespoke briefings. These tailored and timely responses help MPs fulfil their parliamentary duties and represent their constituents. Our confidential service includes fact-checking, policy development and analysis, and help to answer constituents’ questions.

Information Resources: MPs, their staff and parliamentary staff can access our curated collection of books, journals, databases, news subscriptions and parliamentary material.

Training and events: We offer training, support and talks on topical issues from our subject specialists. Our training and events help MPs, their staff and parliamentary staff get the most from the Library.

Workspace: Members’ Library is a quiet workspace for MPs, and a place to access our books and newspapers, make research requests and pick up printed copies of our publications. MPs’ staff can go into the Members’ Library to submit a research request or take out books on loan.


2.  Online resources from the Library

The Commons Library provides books, journals and online resources for MPs, MPs’ staff and parliamentary staff. On this page you can:

  • Browse the Commons Library catalogue
  • Search ejournal articles
  • Find online resources and databases, including Parliament and Government databases
  • Browse news and media subscriptions
  • Find help and guidance


3. Training and events

The Commons Library arranges inductions, training and events for MPs, MPs’ staff and parliamentary staff to help you get the best out of the Library:

Make the most of the Library sessions: The easiest way to learn about Library services is to sign up for one of our Introduction to the Library sessions. The course provides you with the tools to:

  • Find the ready-made research available to you
  • Use our data-dashboards to access relevant statistics
  • Make use of the Library’s request service
  • Discover the range of online resources available for both casework and policy research

Events and guest speakers: House of Commons Library subject specialists give occasional talks on topics of interest to Members and their staff and other users.  They also invite guest speakers from organisations such as the National Audit Office.

Regular training courses: The Library provides regular training courses on parliamentary search, Nexis News, books, journals and more.

Guidance and training on resources and guidance: The Library has prepared guides to the range of online resources and databases available to Parliament, such as news subscriptions, NewsBank, Grantfinder and more. The guides cover:

  • What the resource is
  • Some examples of queries the resource can be used to answer
  • Some key tips on searching
  • What training is available
  • Links to further guidance such as online help, user guides and video tutorials


4. Library Loans Service

The Commons Library catalogue contains records of the Library’s collection of hard copy and electronic books, pamphlets, reports, official publications, periodicals (journals), corporate subscriptions and online reference sources. Each record gives details of author, title, publisher, publication date and Library location.

It also provides an inter-library loans service for items not held by the Library (including periodical articles).

You can reserve a book or other stored material using the online catalogue. You can also view the status of your loans, reserve items, and request the loan of an item that you cannot find on the catalogue.

Explore the Commons Library’s extensive collection of online and hardcopy materials:


5. Request Service

You can contact our team of subject specialists for help with research or information about any area relevant to you.

Whether you’re reviewing or developing policy, preparing for a speech or media appearance, helping a constituent or trying to understand an issue affecting your local area, Library staff can answer your questions in confidence.

It’s helpful to the Library staff to know exactly what you need and when. For example, you may be looking for statistics about your constituency, analysis of government policy, an overview of the law in a particular area or information on the support individuals can expect from public sector organisations. Sharing relevant correspondence or documents will help them understand your request and how we can help.

It may be that the information you’re looking for is already published on the Library’s website. Before submitting a request for information and research from the Library’s team of subject specialists, please do look at the material already published on the Library website:

Specialist research can also be requested: see ParliNet for details.

Our Subject Specialist Directory provides contact details of specialists in each section and includes information on how to submit a request:

6. Commons Library email subscriptions

Get the latest Commons Library research and curated newsletters delivered to your inbox. This includes:

  • Research alerts: Subscribe to receive email alerts every time we publish new research about the topics you’re interested in.
  • In brief: Get business related research from the Commons Library at the start of every week.
  • Current awareness bulletins: Receive topical updates from Library researchers. Bulletins cover a range of topics and include news articles, parliamentary material, Library research, statistics, talks and more.
  • Economic updates: Get weekly economic updates with the latest economic indicators, data releases and briefings.

Sign up to the subscriptions in the link above.

Follow the Library on X: @CommonsLibrary