The Queensland Parliamentary Library was established in May 1860, in the first week of the Parliament’s existence. The collecting policy was initiated by the first parliamentary Librarian, Colonel Charles Gray with a grant of 1000 Pounds from the Parliament. This was followed by successive Librarians including Denis O’Donovan who was librarian from 1874 until his retirement in 1902. His three volume catalogue of the collection is a significant pre-Dewey work and is still used to access the heritage collections.

Queensland was the first parliamentary library in Australasia to make use of computerised information storage and retrieval (1976). It also pioneered the off-air recording and replay of current affairs video and radio programs (1977) as well as networked access (1979).  It made high quality video/radio on demand available to clients across a fibre optic network in 2000 and in 2017 available on most mobile devices.

It made the Library’s Online Collections and Databases are available 24/7 to registered clients anywhere there is an Internet connection. Much of the collection is available digitally and the proportion is increasing every year.

Legislative Context

The Parliamentary Service Act 1988 (Qld) in sections 23 (3)(a)(iii) and 24(1)(d) provides for the position of Parliamentary Librarian and also the provision of library and research facilities for members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Library is also a legal deposit library for all Queensland publications (hard copy and digital) under Part 8 of the Libraries Act 1988 (Qld).

The Library is provided with certain copyright privileges for providing services to its Members of parliament through sections 48A and 104A, (among other provisions) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).


To identify and fulfil the information and research needs of Members of parliament, their staff and the Parliamentary Institution.


The Parliamentary Library is a major independent source of information for Members of Parliament and other core clients. The Library is not open to the public although on individual request the resources can be made available to researchers.

The client groups include members, electorate officers, ministerial staff, Opposition staff, Parliamentary Service officers, staff of the Office for the Governor, other libraries and in particular parliamentary libraries, as well as former members of the Queensland parliament.


– Research (including analysis) and Information Services tailored to individual needs of Members and their staff.

– Research Briefs for all Members backgrounding current Bills before the House, and on current issues of relevance to Queensland Members (available in both hard copy and electronic format according to preference).

– Media monitoring including newspapers, TV/Radio news and current affairs: capturing, recording and archiving on to Library Online Collections/Databases, and transmissions to clients via email Alerts for newsclips and for TV/Radio via VoD network (Parliament or Ministerial offices) or Research Databases (electorate offices).

– Maintenance of appropriate hard copy and digital collections and repositories (Library Online Collections/Databases), especially selected and retained to support the current and future information needs of Queensland Parliamentarians and the Queensland Parliament.

– 24 hour on-line access via the web to the comprehensive Library Online Collections/Databases.

– Alert E-mail Services to clients (subscriptions and individual requests) on a variety of electronic resources offered by the Library; daily, weekly and subject tailored.

– Training for all clients including Members, electorate officers and ministerial staff on how to access and use the Library Online Collections and all other Library services including the VoD system.

– General library services, loans (including inter-library loans) and reservations service.

Heritage Collections

Management of the heritage collections of the Parliamentary Library, including the O’Donovan Collection, the Rare Book collection, the 20th century heritage book collection and the 20th century AV clip repository. Activities are conducted to highlight and promote the historical collections to the Queensland community, such as Open Days, special tours and hermetic displays. Where appropriate, access to the collections is given to external users.

Opening Hours

During parliamentary sitting weeks, the Library is open as follows.

Monday 8.30am to 5.00pm
Tuesday-Thursday 8.30am to 6.00 pm
Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

When parliament is not sitting, the Library is open 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Collection Strengths

The Library is a Special Library, with the emphasis on providing research and information services to a particular type of client – answering their specific questions on all sorts of topics. The collections exist to support the parliament and its members. In common with other parliamentary libraries, “current information” is the bread and butter of our clients’ interests, so a large proportion of available resources are directed towards delivering up-to date information from electronic and print sources directly to clients in both their parliamentary and electorate offices.

As a consequence of this and the need for clients to be abreast of current issues at all times, media monitoring is undertaken, with TV and radio clips and online mainstream and Queensland regional news clips predominant on our Online Collections.

Within the Parliamentary complex, free-to-air TV news and radio news programs are captured through coordinated services offered by the Library AV staff and are available immediately via most mobile devices,  streamed over the VoD network (Video on Demand).

The Library’s collections are broad ranging (to do with any topic which may be the subject of legislation before the Parliament).

The Library’s strengths are in its permanent collections of parliamentary and government documents and items to do with Queensland parliamentary and political history. The Library maintains basic holdings on a broad range of areas of State responsibility including education, health, primary production, and the legal system as well as statistics, government and politics.

O’Donovan Library: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/explore/history/odonovan-library

In addition, the Library has custodianship of the heritage nineteenth century O’Donovan collection, named after a former Parliamentary Librarian who augmented this collection to the size it is today – 12000 monographs and over 32000 items including serials. It is housed in the O’Donovan Library in Parliament House. It is now classed as a heritage asset in the State of Queensland. It is still used as a working collection.

Activities are conducted to highlight and promote the historical collections to the Queensland community, such as Open Days and special tours. Where appropriate, access to the collection is given to external users.

Group tours may be arranged by contacting the Librarian.

Address: Queensland Parliamentary Library, Parliament House George Street, Brisbane 4000

Central Inquiry Point: +617 3553 6222


Queensland Parliament Home Page – http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au

Parliamentary Librarian

Ms Janet Prowse
Parliament House
Brisbane Qld 4000

Phone: (07) 3553 6200
Email: janet.prowse@parliament.qld.gov.au