The Leeds Library
Address18 Commercial Street
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0113 245 3071
The Leeds Library
18 Commercial Street
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.
The Leeds Library welcomes visitors but we do ask that you make an appointment.
A good way to sample the Library is to attend our public events or book onto a tour. We hold tours on the first Saturday and the middle Wednesday of the month. Please check our events page for dates and to book a place on any of the tours or events. If your group is more than 6 people please contact us in advance as charges may apply. If you want to book a group tour we can accommodate groups of up to 15 people. Charges apply. Please see the event booking form for details.
We also open to the public on Thursday evenings between 5pm and 7pm.
Small bags may be brought into the library. Large bags can be secured in the lockers in the ground floor entrance foyer.
If you would like to use the Leeds Library as a researcher please make an appointment at least 48 hours in advance to consult a particular item. Please see our Research page for more information.
Our building has a stair lift seat from the foyer to the Library on the first floor but no actual lift. If you are able to transfer from a wheelchair onto the stair lift seat, we can carry your wheelchair upstairs if it’s possible. Our toilets do not have step-free access and there is no disabled toilet. We welcome assistance dogs and assistance dogs-in-training. We offer free access for carers accompanying a Library Member.
Please call us on 0113 245 3071 or email: [email protected] if you have any accessibility needs or questions that are not covered here.
- Step-free access