Yes;  we hold tours on the first Saturday and the middle Wednesday of the month at 10.30am and we open to the public an Thursday evenings from 5pm until 7pm.  Please check our Events page for tour dates and booking.

We have 5 different membership categories:

Individual which allows one person aged 26 years or over to borrow and is currently £120 a year.

Couples which is for 2 adults living at the same address aged 26 years and over and is £170 a year.

Family which allows 2 adults living at the same address aged 26 years and over plus up to two children under the age of 18 still living at home or in full time education and is currently £190 a year.

Young Person’s membership currently allows one person aged 18-25 to join for £60 a year.

Full Time Student which allows adults in full time education to use the library for £60 a year.

If you are interested in purchasing a membership as a gift for someone please indicate this on the application form.

Yes; we are able to offer temporary membership on request.  Please contact the library for details.

Yes; to join up straight away you need to come to the library and complete an application form, provide relevant payment and provide two forms of identification (something with your current address on such as a recent utility bill and something with your signature on such as a bank card).

Payment can be made in person at the library, over the telephone or on the website.

We accept cash, credit and debit cards and BACS payments.

Yes; each application form has a section that can be filled out by the person wishing to give the gift, but the recipient can sign the application on their first visit to the Library so that the gift can be a surprise.

You can pay for gift membership online on the website too.

We estimate that we have 150,000 books but until we retrospectively catalogue the rest of the collection we can only estimate. The book stock is split between the Commercial Street premises, Restore and Mill Hill Chapel.

The vast majority of the stock is on open shelves at the the library to which members have free access; a number of rarer or more fragile items are available only on request.

Most Library materials published in the last 100 years may be borrowed.

Individual and Young Person members have an allowance of 30 items, adult family and couples members have an allowance of 20 items each and students have an allowance of 15 items each that can be made up of the following: up to 10 in demand books, 10 in demand periodicals and 10 in demand audio visual items at any one time. Child family members have an allowance of 5 items each that can be made up of the following: up to 5 in demand books, 2 in demand periodicals and 2 in demand audio visual items at any one time.

In demand books, periodicals, magazines and audio visual items may be borrowed for up to 3 weeks. Other items published within the last 100 years may be borrowed for up to twelve weeks.


Yes; approximately 1,500 volumes and audio items are added to the Library each year across all of the subject areas of the collections. Members are invited to make suggestions for items to be acquired by the Library.  New acquisitions feature in our latest book lists available in the library or on our website.

The Leeds Library welcomes donations if they achieve certain criteria, such as enhancing the collection.  Each donation is assessed on its own merit by the management team.  For enquiries please contact us.

The Library maintains current subscriptions to over 80 periodicals and also holds collections of current and historic journals and magazines. Most back numbers of periodicals – excluding the most recent issues – are available for loan.

Yes, the catalogue of all materials acquired since 1998 is available for consultation via this website as is the separate digitised card catalogue which covers our pre-1950 acquisitions.  We hope to merge the card catalogue into our main one very soon. To search our collections click on the Search the Catalogue menu item.

Yes; there is currently one PC and two iPads available in the Main Room for members to use; wireless access is also available throughout the building for those who have a laptop or tablet with wireless capability – please bring your device fully charged as there are limited plug points. An Internet usage policy (available from the counter) has to be signed prior to using the terminal or wireless in the Library.

Yes; members may bring personal laptops, tablets and smartphones in to the Library and they may be used in the New Room and Reading Room. After an Internet usage policy (available from the counter) has been signed you will be issued with a password for Wi-Fi. Please ensure your device is fully charged as the Library has limited power outlets and your phone is on silent.  Mobile phone calls can be taken in the entrance foyer,

We prefer coats not to be worn and there is a coat rail and lockers for bags in the entrance foyer and a coat rail outside the Main Room entrance at the top of the stairs.

Yes; we have a dedicated coffee corner in our Main Room where members can bring cold food to eat. We have facilities for making tea, coffee and cordial for a small charge and free cold water. We don’t allow food or drink to be consumed anywhere else in the library apart from bottled water.

Events at The Leeds Library

The Leeds Library Members' Film Club (TOE2017)

Saturday 7th October,
13:45 to 15:45

PLEASE NOTE - LATER START TIME FOR THE FILM! Members' Film Club: The Film Noir Season Details are only available in the library. £3.00 for refreshments SORRY - LEEDS LIBRARY MEMBERS ONLY!   more...

A Place called Home: David Oluwale's Leeds - An evening of poetry featuring Imtiaz Dharker and Glyn Maxwell with Caryl Phillips

Friday 13th October,
19:30 to 21:00

Award-winning playwright, author and essayist, Caryl Phillips, is performing as part of an event to remember David Oluwale. His 2007 book, Foreigners, features the life and brutal death of David Oluwa more...

'What do Historians Really Think about Biography? Thoughts from Spain'. A talk by Professor Adrian Shubert

Tuesday 17th October,
18:00 to 19:30

Biography is one of the most popular ways of writing about the past, but historians have long been ambivalent about the genre, often disqualifying it entirely. In this talk Professor Shubert will expl more...

Tour of the Leeds Library

Wednesday 18th October,
10:30 to 11:30

Visit the historic Leeds Library. The oldest surviving library of its kind in the UK. All welcome but booking essential. more...