Leeds Libraries are free, warm community spaces for you to enjoy; a place to read, relax, socialise, learn a hobby, find out how to start your own business, gain new digital skills and much more.
- Members only
- Accepts donations
Leeds Central Library opened in 1884. Our magnificent Victorian tiled Grade 2* listed building is home to a number of specialist services, including one of the country’s largest public art libraries, a specialist music library, a Business & Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC), the Local and Family History library, and unique special collections that date back to the 15th century (including botanical books, maps and diaries). It easily accessible to wheelchair users and is located on the Headrow in the city centre.
In addition to our Central Library, we have over 35 public libraries within the city boundary. Some of these also serve as community hubs offering employment support and help and advice with a wide range of council services, such as Council Tax, Registrars, Welfare Rights and Housing Leeds.
Visit our libraries to choose from thousands of titles. You can borrow up to 20 books at a time, and you can even reserve and renew books from any library across the city, using our app or online, for collection at your local library. You can return your books to any library across the city. You can also borrow eBooks and audiobooks and read our collection of comics, magazines and newspapers through our online library or join one of our reading groups.
We don’t charge for overdue books so don’t worry if you’re a little late returning them!
EVENTS, TALKS, WORKSHOPS and EXHIBITIONS
Leeds Central Library’s multi-use arts space known as ‘Room 700’ is uniquely positioned on the first floor between the Music and Performing Arts Library and the Art Library. It is a fantastic space to ‘think, talk, make and do’; with year-round events and activities for all ages and interests inspired by the heritage, special collections and books within Leeds Central Library. Activities and events also take place in our community libraries throughout the year and are promoted via our collection on Leeds Inspired.
Studio12 is an award winning digital media initiative that has been running since 2003 and is unique to Leeds Libraries. During this time Studio12 has worked with young people from diverse backgrounds to produce new work and learn valuable skills within the media arts industry. The Drawing Room is also based in the Central Library building and organises a number of regular art and craft workshops for mixed abilities to enjoy engaging with. You are also invited to join our programmes of Local History Talks and the exhibitions we showcase as partners of the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network.
DIGITAL and BUSINESS SUPPORT
Our Business & IP Centre in Leeds Central Library offers free support to new and existing businesses, or anyone with a business idea in Leeds and West Yorkshire.
Or, you can connect with #Digital121 for free internet, wi-fi and digital skills development. All our libraries have computers and wi-fi that you can use for free. You can also use computers to print documents for a small charge (just remember to bring coins). If you need help to get online or would like to learn a new digital skill, we run a range of digital support sessions; ask any member of staff at the library or get in touch.
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Our events, workshops and activities support wellbeing through bringing people together to learn, develop new skills, keep active and stay connected in a local venue, helping to build a sense of community and address loneliness and social isolation.
Library Socials are free monthly events for people to meet one another and enjoy a variety of activities in their local library. Each one has a different theme; a creative activity to enjoy, a new skill to learn and you can just drop-in. We have a large collection of Reading Well books to help people understand and manage a variety of health conditions and learn about general wellbeing. The books are chosen by health experts and people living with the conditions and cover a range of topics such as grief, dementia, teenage anxiety, mental ill-health and long-term illness…as well as a range of books to support healthy lifestyles. You can borrow these books from any of our libraries and find the books lists here: https://reading-well.org.uk/books/books-on-prescription
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
Bounce & Rhyme
Join us for a fun session of sharing songs and rhymes with your baby in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. A great opportunity to meet with others, and start your baby’s Ready, Steady, Readers challenge as part of your visit. Free event every Monday 1:30-2:30pm for pre-crawling babies and their grown ups, just turn up.
Once a month we will also host a Baby Photobooth with a professional photographer which wraps around the Bounce & Rhyme session from 1-3pm.
Story and Rhyme
Join us at your local library for a fun session of sharing stories and rhymes in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. A great opportunity to meet with others, and start your child’s ‘Ready, Steady, Readers’ challenge as part of your visit.
These sessions introduce children to the world of stories and rhymes, helping them develop early speech and language skills and a love of books and reading.
Leeds libraries has two story buses called Nelly and Sam. They’re packed with brilliant board books, perfect picture books and terrific toys for Under 5s. They are covered inside and out in beautiful illustrations by author and illustrator Nick Sharratt, chosen by little ones in children’s centres across Leeds. Our friendly team deliver quality Story and Rhyme sessions to young children all over Leeds through their childcare provision, while families can hop on board to borrow books to take home and share together.
School Library Service
Leeds School Library Service (SLS) is part of Leeds Libraries, providing curriculum support resources for classroom teaching and reading for pleasure in schools within the Leeds boundary.
Code Clubs at Leeds Libraries
Start your coding adventure with Leeds Libraries! You will discover our easy-to-follow projects which will help you to learn a variety of coding languages by making games, robots, animations, and websites in a supportive environment.
You can use many of our library services online including downloading eBooks and accessing a range of events, tutorials and resources. Visit our webpage or download the library app to your phone or tablet by searching ‘Leeds Libraries’ on your device’s app store.