The World Directory of Parliamentary Libraries is an electronic directory containing basic data on the parliamentary libraries of sovereign states (at the moment: 192 states). Besides information on how to contact the libraries, the Directory includes data about collections, budget, services, special collections, and staffing. The Directory allows users to find the most important information about parliaments’ libraries or research services and where available, to access the web pages of the libraries for further details.

History of the Directory

From 1985 to 1992, the World Directory of Parliamentary Libraries – under the responsibility of the IFLA Section for Library and Research Services for Parliaments – was compiled as a print version by the library of the German Bundestag and updated every two years. Since 1992, the Directory has existed online in the form of a database.  It is still maintained by the Bundestag Library and can be found on the website of the German Bundestag in English, French and German.

In 2010, the database was revised; the questionnaire on which it is based is now more contemporary, simpler and quicker to fill in, and the number of data points required has been reduced. The intention behind these changes was to facilitate regular and consistent updating. In addition, it was decided that the parliamentary libraries of “Federated States and Autonomous Territories” should no longer be included, since the level of participation from such institutions appeared to be extremely low. The existing data has been transferred to this new version of the World Directory of Parliamentary Libraries and, once the new questionnaire has been made available on the Internet at the beginning of 2011, the information can be updated and sent to the Bundestag Library. 

This project was briefly outlined at the IFLA Pre-Conference in 2010 in Stockholm. 

All parliamentary libraries worldwide are invited to check their data, update it if necessary and help make the World Directory of Parliamentary Libraries into a modern and up-to-date instrument for parliaments to present themselves, and a useful source of information.

What information does the questionnaire contain? 

Information about the sovereign state, the parliament and – if existing – the chambers of parliament. Details of the parliamentary library as: name, address, contact details, email address, homepage, person in charge, staff, budget, size of collection, current periodicals, services (periodicals and parliamentary papers currently indexed, press cuttings, information about catalogue, reference and research services, IFLA membership)

Some reasons for maintaining the World Directory of Parliamentary Libraries (in spite of Internet)

  • It is not always easy to find a special library website on the internet presentation of a National Parliament.
  • The WDPL could offer the direct link or an email address to a library.
  • The WDPL can provide an easy access to core information about a library at first glance.

The essential qualification for a useful WDPL is the currency of information. As such, regular updates are required to guarantee the quality of the WDLP. Therefore all parliamentary libraries worldwide but – taking first place! – the members of this Section are invited to check their data, to update the information if necessary, and to send them to the library of German Bundestag.

  • Redesign of the World Directory of Parliamentary Libraries (and Research Services), 2017
    A new version of the Directory (renamed the World Directory of Library and Research Services for Parliaments) has been designed and built by the National Library of Congress, Chile.  The prototype was demonstrated at the 2017 pre-conference and an invitation to members to create their own institutional record in the Directory has been sent out to parliamentary libraries and research services.