The Leeds Library is a wonderful mix of the old and the new located at the very heart of a busy shopping centre.

It was founded in 1768 as a proprietary subscription library and is now the oldest surviving example of this sort of library in the British Isles. It boasts Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) as one of its original subscribers.  The collections are particularly rich in travel, topography, biography, history and literature. There are long runs of periodicals, popular novels, children’s books and Civil War pamphlets and Reformation Tracts. About 1,500 new books and audio/visual items are added every year most of which are recommended by the members.  A large proportion of the Library’s holdings is available for loan to its members. The Library became a charity on 1 July 2008.

2018 is our 250th year and alongside a year long programme of events, we celebrated this milestone anniversary with a Dinner at the Queen’s Hotel on Friday 21st September. Our guest speaker was the renowned writer and poet, Ian McMillan. We also held a 3 day academic conference which attracted delegates and speakers from all over the world.

In addition, we have published a commemorative book that looks at how The Leeds Library, the country’s oldest subscription library of its type, has grown and prospered since its beginnings in 1768. Through the Pages, 250 Years of The Leeds Library, costs £30.00 and can be ordered using the form here.

 

 

 

Events at The Leeds Library

Chelping @ The Carriageworks Theatre

Wednesday 14th November,
19:30 to 21:30

CHELPING @ THE CARRIAGEWORKS THEATRE, WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER. Doors 7.00pm. Start 7.30pm. Tickets: £5. For one night only, Wednesday 14th November, Chelping is coming to you from the bar in the Carria more...

The Things We Wouldn't Otherwise Find

Wednesday 14th November,
19:30 to 22:00

The Things We Wouldn't Otherwise Find,  Tuesday 6 - Saturday 17 November. Just a few tickets left for some performances. Please book using the individual day ticket links. Sales on this link have bee more...

The Things We Wouldn't Otherwise Find - Saturday 17th November

Saturday 17th November,
19:30 to 20:30

The Things We Wouldn't Otherwise Find, Saturday 17th November. Just 8 tickets left! Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm for 50 mins. ‘I LIKE HOW BOOKS SMELL AND FEEL. I LIKE THE WEIGHT O more...

Joanne Harris in conversation

Tuesday 20th November,
19:00 to 21:00

We are delighted to welcome best-selling author Joanne Harris to the Leeds Library. She will be in conversation with Leeds writer and poet James Nash. Joanne will talk about her new novel,The Blue Sal more...