Library of the Senate

of Pennsylvania

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PA Senate Library History

History of the Library

For over two hundred years, the Library of the Senate has served as the major source of information on the Institution. Brimming with its collection of legislative documents, journals, and law books, the Senate Library is an excellent place of reference for Senate Members and staff. For those conducting research, materials may be used in the library or checked out for use in Members' offices. For visitors, the Senate Library is a reference-only library. A network of libraries in the Capitol Complex and throughout the Commonwealth may be used to satisfy requests for information not available in the Senate Library, and Senate Library staff are happy to facilitate such requests.

Beyond its role as a source of research, the Senate Library memorializes the Institutional history of the Senate through its permanent museum display and featured exhibitions, which opened in autumn 2018. These allow visitors the opportunity to learn more about the Senate's unique Institutional history, critical legislative functions, and dedicated public servants.


As part of the Senate Library's mission, a permanent museum display and featured exhibitions are on view for visitors to experience the untold story of the Pennsylvania Senate.

What our guests are saying

“Totally agree with President Roosevelt. It is truly the handsomest building ever built.”

Visitor from Spring Valley, NY
August 2020

“Evelyn was very helpful, friendly, and welcoming!”

Visitor from Broadway, VA
August 2020

“An honor to witness the rich history of PA”

Visitor from India
February 2020

“Thanks for all your work preserving the history”

Visitor from Philadelphia, PA
December 2019

“Informative & interesting”

Visitor from Phoenix, AZ
November 2019

“We Rembember - interesting & informative display-appreciate the exhibit!”

Visitor from Manchester, PA
July 2019

“Great to see a working Senate Library!”

Visitor from Arcata, CA
July 2019

“Thanks a lot for the visit and the local tips!”

Visitor in July 2019

“Very attentive personnel. Love this place”

Visitor from Baltimore, MD
July 2019

“It's very amazing. Thank you for everything.”

Visitor from Berlin, Germany
June 2019

“Beautiful! Amazing & proud to be from PA. Everyone is very welcoming here! :)”

Visitor from Pittsburgh, PA
June 2019

“Very important exhibit and beautifully done. Thank you!”

Visitor in June 2019

“Love [the] history & books”

Visitor in May 2019

“So glad you've done this exhibit”

Visitor in April 2019

“Saw this exhibit in the 'Burg [magazine]. Very nice”

Visitor in April 2019


Visitor from Galesburg, MI
April 2019

“Great work!”

Visitor in December 2018

“Thank you for your help!! I owe you a few cheesecakes”

Visitor from Philadelphia, PA
October 2018

“Excellent displays”

Visitor in October 2018

“Wonderful - much appreciated for your time and knowledge”

Visitor from Bryn Mawr, PA
October 2018

“Friendly Librarian! Beautiful Library!”

Visitor from St. Anthony, MN
October 2018

Fun Facts

Years of the Senate:


The Senate was founded in 1790 and has had over 150 sessions since its inception.

Years of the Senate Library:


The Senate Library existed as early as 1809, when court cases and other reference materials were housed within its collections.

Books at the Senate Library:


There are over 10,000 volumes of books held within the Senate Library's collections.

Visitors to our new Exhibition:


The January 2023 head count for the Library was 495 and makes our total head count 25,091.

On This Day in


America's oldest ice cream shop, Basset's Ice Cream, opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



The Senate Library maintains a diverse collection of Pennsylvania legislative documents and law books. Some of the collection's highlights include:

  • Appropriations Acts
  • Case Law
  • Directories
  • Hearings and Reports of Pennsylvania Bills
  • Laws
  • Legislative Histories of Pennsylvania Bills
  • Legislative Journals