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.


Events at The Leeds Library

Symposium on Spanish anarchism

Tuesday 24th April,
17:30 to 19:30

24 April 2018 Symposium on Spanish anarchism. Speakers include Professor Martha Acklesberg (Smith College), Professor Richard Cleminson (Leeds), Dr Danny Evans (Leeds), Nathaniel Andrews (Leeds). How more...

250th Talk - Paul Routledge: my career as a political correspondent

Thursday 26th April,
12:30 to 13:30

Career as a political correspondent A talk by Paul Routledge As part of our 250th celebrations, each month the Library will celebrate a different aspect of its history and wonderful collections. April more...

Leeds University Music Recital

Thursday 26th April,
17:30 to 18:30

Musicians from the Music Department of Leeds University will perform in the Main Room of the Library.  Enjoy the performance whilst browsing our collection.  The programme for the evening will be as more...

The Book of Darkness & Light

Friday 27th April,
19:30 to 21:00

Adam Z. Robinson in association with LittleMighty presents   The Book of Darkness & Light   Three chilling tales. Two ghostly performers. One thrilling night. Legend has it that many years a more...