Be part of our next chapter… us secure the future of The Leeds Library

We are delighted to announce that the Leeds Library has purchased 15 Commercial Street, the property next door to our current home, in the first extension in over 140 years.

The Next Chapter Project will see the Library expand from its current premises at 18 Commercial Street into the neighbouring building. The move is an investment in our future: 42,000 books stored off-site will be united under one roof; we will become fully-accessible for the first time in our history (with a through-floor lift installed in the new building as well as improved and accessible welfare facilities); and a dedicated event and education space will allow us to deliver a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary programme, designed to celebrate the magic of language, storytelling and reading.

Our vision is to be a thriving creative hub for the people of Leeds and beyond, providing a space for the production, study and enjoyment of all forms of creativity, and to open our doors and collection to as many people as possible.

The project represents an investment of over £1.2million, and has been made possible with financial support from the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Ecology Building Society, together with generous donations from our Members, and a contribution from the Library itself.

We have appointed Garnett Netherwood Architects to realise our plans for the project, and expect renovation work to be completed in early 2023, with the opening ceremony of the building coinciding with the 2023 year of culture. The planning application for the project was submitted in August 2022, which you can see below, and we are hopeful for a positive decision on the application before the end of the year.

Chair of the Leeds Library, Martin Staniforth said: “The purchase of 15 Commercial Street opens a new chapter in the Library’s 250-year story and secures its future for generations to come. The additional space the new building provides will make the Library more accessible, will allow us to broaden the range of activities and events we support, and will enable us to bring our collections together in one place. By doing so it will reinforce the Library’s position as a cultural hub for the city. I am grateful to all those who have helped bring this about, and particularly the Ecology Building Society and the Architectural Heritage Fund for their commitment to the project.”

Chief Executive of the Leeds Library, Carl Hutton said: “We are all really excited to launch the Next Chapter Project Fundraising Appeal following on from the submission of our planning application to extend our amazing library into 15 Commercial Street. We want every resident in the city to be proud of the Library, our heritage and our work and believe that the Next Chapter Project will make this ambition come true.  On completion the Next Chapter Project will mean that the Library is fully accessible to all, can deliver ambitious creative projects, learning activities and exhibitions as well as introduce all of the 130,000 items in our collections to visitors to the Library under one roof.”

Basement (left) and Ground floor (right)


First floor (left) and Second floor (right)


The Roof



3D Visualisations and building plans: Garnett Netherwood Architects


For more information and ways to get involved, please email




Events at The Leeds Library