The Leeds Library

The Leeds Library is the oldest surviving members’ subscription library in the UK and a treasure trove for bibliophiles located in the heart of the commercial district.

  • Public
  • Appointment
  • Lending
  • Members only
  • Accepts donations

Founded in 1768, The Leeds Library has occupied its current Grade II* Listed Building on Commercial Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, since 1808. As well as housing an historic collection dating back to the Library’s foundation (including rare and unique books), the Library is a contemporary library offering Members access to online courses, audio books, DVDs and CDs, an eBook library, and a wide range of academic journal articles.

The Leeds Library also hosts an exciting programme of events throughout the year, both in-person and online, nurturing a love of reading and the next generation of Leeds writers. These have included author talks, signings, and discussions; but also live theatre and performance, walks, and live music. The Library was a founder of the annual Leeds Lit Fest (which has run since 2019) and sees hundreds of people visit the Library.

In 2023 a new wing will open, making the Library fully-accessible for the first time in its history; uniting its collection under one roof; and creating a dedicated event and education space allowing the Library to deliver a comprehensive multi-disciplinary programme celebrating the magic of language, storytelling and reading.

You can also listen to our podcast Tales from The Leeds Library.

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