Parliamentary Library today

The Parliamentary Library is a working library that provides research services for members of Parliament and parliamentary staff. The library also responds to requests from the public for information on any aspect of Parliament.

Restoration and refurbishment

Restoration, refurbishment, and earthquake strengthening work at the Parliamentary Library took place between 1992 and 1995. The work included:

  • recreating the magnificent foyer and overhead dome using ornate plasterwork, stained glass windows, doors, and tiles
  • replicated to match the original designs
  • recreating gothic elements of the roof including ironwork, turrets, and finials
  • exposing the decorative moulded timber trusses as rafters in the former Members’ Lobby
  • restoring the original iron door that protected the Parliamentary Library from fire in 1907
  • restoring the original stained glass rose windows, which are now backlit at night
  • refurbishing the original toilet block of 1882, which is still in use
  • reintroducing the original colour scheme together with traditionally patterned carpet and period furniture.

The basement of the building was also reclaimed and refurbished as part of this building work to create much-needed additional storage space.

The library building in history

The building that is now known as the Parliamentary Library was designed by Thomas Turnbull in the Victorian Gothic style. It was built in two stages due to financial constraints:

  • The west wing (now at the back of the Parliamentary Library) was built in 1883.
  • The main front part of the building was completed in 1899.

The parliamentary library has occupied the building since 1901, when it was known as the General Assembly Library. Other occupants have included government departments, Bellamy’s, and members of Parliament.

The library building was damaged by fire in 1907. The ornate main foyer was again damaged by fire in 1992. It has since been completely restored and refurbished.