About the Parliamentary Library
The Lower House of the Parliament formed the Parliamentary Library in the late 1860s to support legislation. It started operation in 1870 in a single room of the National Museum. Having moved to temporary premises, it then landed in the former building of the Lower House in Sándor Street (today 8 Bródy Sándor utca) on the Pest side. What was called the library of the Lower House at the time with a collection of 50000 volumes, it later moved into its present premises, the then brand new Parliament Building in Kossuth Square in 1902.
With time the government turned it into a public library in 1952. A self-standing institution financed from the central budget, it was supervised by the Ministry of Culture at that time.
However in 1991, with the advent of multi-party democracy and sweeping political changes, the library got back its legislative library status without losing its specialized national research library functions.
Today it operates under the supervision of the Speaker of Parliament and, as from 1994, its status is regulated by the Standing Orders of the Parliament.
A central public library with specialized collections, the Parliamentary Library is open to Hungarian and foreign citizens over 18 years of age.
About nature and size of our collections
We focus on law and political sciences, modern Hungarian and world history and documents of the National Assembly. In these fields we collect and process domestic literature exhaustively and foreign literature selectively. We collect literature in modern Hungarian and world history, economics, sociology, statistics, and official documents of parliaments abroad, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and the European Union.
Our stock is close to one million documents with annual acquisitions being over 10000 volumes.
Our collection of old newspapers and periodicals is impressive and we have some 2000 titles of current periodicals – half of the latter being in foreign languages.
Collections of Hungarian and foreign statutes account for the bulk of our legal holdings. We keep Hungarian statutes dating back all the way to King Stephen I of the early 11th century and we have been systematically collecting foreign statutes since the 19th century.
We have a sizeable collection of social sciences. Private collections of Members of Parliament and scholars are among the sources of its precious pieces and so are auctions.
We have an exhaustive collection of Hungarian parliamentary documents. Indeed ours is the biggest public depository of such documents in this country. It is called Hungarian Parliamentary Collection as from 1991. Our collection includes official Hungarian printed parliamentary documents (transcriptions of parliamentary debates, parliamentary papers, records of budgets etc.) covering the period from 1861 to present.
Documents in the Foreign Parliamentary Collection have been accruing since 1878, thanks primarily to inter-library exchanges. (We swap documents with some thirty countries.) We get those documents in foreign languages on paper, microfiche, CD-ROM or online. Our users can study the work of twenty-plus foreign parliaments. Official documents and online databases of the Interparliamentary Union are also kept in that collection.
The United Nations Depository Collection in our library ensures your free access to
- documents in French and English of the main bodies of the UN (the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat) and of
- the specialized agencies (the World Trade Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Labour Office, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the UN Industrial Development Organization); furthermore,
- documents of the League of Nations, which is considered as the predecessor of the UN, and
- publications of the OECD, as well as numerous specialized databases.
Our library also houses the European Union Depository Library. The term "depository library" means that our library gets free and full series of all publications of the European Union and that it gets, and ensures for its users, access to the official databases of the EU. We only received the documents in English until Hungary’s accession to the European Union in 2004 but since then we also get them in Hungarian translation. This special collection obtains, selectively but systematically, domestic and international literature on the European Union: monographs and collections of essays, periodicals, CD-ROMs and access to online databases.
We welcome library users in the central reading room and in the reading rooms of three special collections with a total of 120 seats. Our reference library runs to 15000 volumes; there are 900000 volumes in the stackrooms; there is a reading room for periodicals; there are 40 computers in the reading rooms and in the corridors with catalogue cabinets; there are electronic catalogues; and researchers and students can have access to numerous domestic and foreign databases.
Our reference staff is on hand at information points of the library to answer inquiries about our stock, services and computerized databases.
There is a copying service and digital copies may also be made. You can access this library’s own databases and those we subscribe to. You can also order a current awareness service and the compilation of bibliographies.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.