Government Law Libraries

These are libraries maintained for the use of government lawmakers and staff at the national, state or local levels. Some are open to the public, others are reserved for lawmakers and their staff.


The Old Library of the Dutch House of Representatives (Handelingenkamer) in The Hague, Netherlands. Volumes of records of proceedings and debates in parliament (Handelingen) are stored in the library of what was originally the Department of Justice. "When this Department was built at the end of the 19th century, there was no electricity. Combustible substances, such as candles and gas lamps, had to be kept away from the more than 100,000 volumes. To allow as much light in as possible, the roof was therefore constructed as a leaded glass dome. Although the library is four stories high, daylight can filter down to the floor thanks to the open cast-iron staircases and balustrades."


The Law Library of Munich (Juristische Bibliothek M√ľnchen) in Munich, Germany. It is located in the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), which was constructed between 1867 and 1908 in Gothic Revival style.


The Swedish Parliamentary Library in Stockholm, Sweden, built between 1897 and 1905 in a neo-Baroque style.

7704 (krobbie) (Bill Rosenthal Photography)

The Senate Library and Library Annex in the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, France. The Palace was built between 1615 and 1625 for Marie de Medici, mother of King Louis XIII, and after the French Revolution served as Napoleon's residence and the French Senate House.



The State Law Library of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa. It is located in the Iowa State Capitol Building, and was built in 1884 in a Renaissance style. The Law Library is a magnificent five-story atrium with ornate, cast-iron circular stairs extending all the way up, beautiful chandeliers and sconces (once gas-lit, now electrified), grand marble walls and floors, and alcoves filled with leather-bound case law books. What a library.



The library at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario.


The House of Commons Library in London, England.


The Lords Library, Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, England.