In recent years the Library has delivered a number of projects to attract new audiences to the Library and to look at new ways in which we can raise our profile and engage the wider public in the work and significance of our Collection.
The Library has worked in partnership with several arts and cultural organisations. These have included:
- Alchemy Anew
- Ilkley Literature Festival
- Leeds Beckett University
- The Leeds Big Bookend
- The Leeds International Film Festival
- Leeds Lit Fest
- Leeds University
- Mill Hill Chapel
- Riptide Theatre
In 2018 we celebrated our 250th Anniversary. As the oldest membership subscription library in the country we marked this milestone for the Leeds Library with a programme of exhibitions, displays, talks, performances and writing throughout the year. We opened up our collections so that Members and non members alike could come into contact with our treasure trove of literary gems and develop an understanding and appreciation as to how the Library is not just a part of the history of Leeds but also has a role to play in its future.
We worked with a number of arts, heritage and cultural organisations on different aspects of the programme along with writers, poets and performers. Our aim was to enable access to the Library, its collections and to reveal its unique spirit like never before.
Particular highlights were our first ever academic conference, a celebration dinner, a special exhibition, an anniversary book and a rich and varied events programme.
We’ve worked with many artists, performers and writers to bring the Library and our collection to life. They include those undertaken with Alchemy Anew which has delivered several projects including Hidden Diamonds in 2015 and The Haunting: Ghosts of Every Shade in 2016 that combined music, drama, spoken work, film, visual arts, installations, dance and craft to bring unique spectacles and experiences to the Library. Radiance is a specially commissioned poem written by writer, Rommi Smith for The Hidden Diamond. Other partners have included The Leeds Big Bookend with the Wild Lines nature writing festival, and more recently as founder partner of the Leeds Lit Fest the Library has been at the forefront of supporting writers, performers and artists in Leeds and beyond.
Much of the work associated with our projects would not have been possible without the support and funding from a number of funding bodies and grant giving trusts including the Arts Council, HLF, Leeds Inspired and The Bramall Trust.