The Leeds Library is the oldest-surviving members’ subscription library in the UK. Founded in 1768, the Library moved to its purpose-built premises in 1808, and in spite of its ever-growing collection of books (140,000 at the last count in 1887) many original features remain in its much-loved home.
From the Georgian splendour of the Main Room with its Victorian sunlight burners, to the labyrinth of the basement deep under Commercial Street, there’s an unexpected treasure around every corner. And you never know—perhaps even the Library’s ghost…
A note about accessibility. Our building has a stair lift seat from the foyer to the Library on the first floor, but we are unable to install a through-floor lift because of the building’s Listed status. If you are able to transfer from a wheelchair onto the stair lift seat, we can carry your wheelchair upstairs if that’s possible. Our toilets do not have step-free access and there is no disabled toilet. We welcome assistance dogs and assistance dogs-in-training. We offer free access for carers accompanying a Library Member. There are plans in place to install a through-floor lift in 2023.