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 our Members.  A large proportion of the Library’s holdings is available for loan to Members. The Library became a charity on 1 July 2008.

If you would like to become a Member, we offer Individual, Joint, Family, Student and Young Person memberships. For the book and heritage lovers in your life, we also offer Gift Membership to the Library, a unique gift that lasts all year round. For more information on joining us, click here.

2018 was our 250th year and alongside a year long programme of events, we celebrated this milestone anniversary with a Dinner, held a 3 day academic conference which attracted delegates and speakers from all over the world and 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

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Speaking to the Shelves: Creative Writing Workshop-Matthew Hedley Stoppard

January 18 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Have you always been a reader? Have you ever fancied having a go at writing creatively but haven’t yet devoted time to it? Perhaps you are an experienced writer looking for a new form to explore or need some good old-fashioned inspiration.Our Spring Speaking to the Shelves creative writing programme begins with Matthew Hedley Stoppard: rendering place and time in poetry on Saturday 18th January,10am-12pm with the option to stay from 12-1pm for feedback. Tickets are £13. Matthew will be running this workshop…

Speaking to the Shelves: Creative Writing Workshop-Matthew Hedley Stoppard

January 18 @ 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Have you always been a reader? Have you ever fancied having a go at writing creatively but haven’t yet devoted time to it? Perhaps you are an experienced writer looking for a new form to explore or need some good old-fashioned inspiration.Our Spring Speaking to the Shelves creative writing programme begins with Matthew Hedley Stoppard: rendering place and time in poetry on Saturday 18th January, 1.30pm-3.30pm with the option to stay from 3.30-4.30pm for feedback. Tickets are £13. Matthew Hedley Stoppard is the UK's…

The Thoresby Society Members evening

January 20 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Thoresby – Members eveningMembers of The Thoresby Society are invited to join us for the annual members evening. 1.      The Prints and prospects of Samuel Buck – a talk by Dr Roy Yates.2.      The Leeds Bantams in World War 1. – Chris Hindle will share some of his research.This will be followed up by an excursion in the spring.Refreshments will be provided in between the talks. This is a FREE event but booking is essential. 

Leeds Library and Civic Trust joint event: James Rhodes ‘Lost in the past; women of Leeds’

January 23 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

All welcome!“Leeds history writer James Rhodes will talk to us about the lives of some notable women from Leeds’s past whose stories deserve to be much better known than they are today.” 

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