The Leeds Library

Creative Tourist
Courtesy of Visit Leeds

The Leeds Library is a wonderful mix of the old and the new located at the very heart of a busy shopping centre, and the country’s oldest subscription library of its type.

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 Library Members. A large proportion of the Library’s holdings is available for loan to Members. The Library became a charity on 1 July 2008.

In 2018, The Leeds Library celebrated its 250th year with a year-long programme of events, a three-day academic conference that attracted delegates and speakers from all over the world, and the publication of a commemorative book.

18 Commercial StreetLeedsLS1 6AL View map
Telephone: 01132453071 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday10:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday10:00am - 6:00pm
  • Wednesday10:00am - 6:00pm
  • Thursday10:00am - 7:00pm
  • Friday10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday10:00am - 4:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near The Leeds Library

A still from Now, Voyager featuring Charlotte Vale played by Bette Davis.
CinemaLeeds
Now, Voyager at Cottage Road Cinema

Bette Davis stars as a wealthy young woman who escapes her domineering mother in this classic melodrama selected to show as part of Classics at the Cottage this June.

from £7.00

Where to go near The Leeds Library

Leeds
Shop
Artsmix

Artsmix is a arts and crafts market in the centre of Leeds that has been supporting the creativity of artists and designers for more than a decade. T

Cinemas in Leeds Everyman Leeds
Leeds
Everyman Leeds

Located in Trinity Leeds, expect comfy seating, posh snacks and an experience altogether more luxurious than your average multiplex.

Olive and Rye Leeds
Leeds
Restaurant
Olive & Rye

Olive & Rye is a restaurant deli in Queen’s Arcade, Leeds, specialising in top-class sandwiches.

Leeds Farmers Market
Leeds
Shop
Leeds Farmer’s Markets

Leeds Farmer’s Market is a food market featuring the best local produce in Yorkshire. Whether it’s game or farmed foods, its shoppers can be certain of freshness and quality.

OK Comics Leeds
Leeds
Shop
OK Comics

OK Comics is Leeds’ leading comic book shop, with everything from classic items to obscurities. Their modest shop is designed with ease of use in mind.

Village Bookstore Leeds
Leeds
Shop
Village Bookstore

Leeds’ Village Bookstore is a classic-style bookshop, with a neat line in self-published zines.

Marriot Leeds
Leeds
Hotel
Marriott Hotel

Marriott Hotel is a contemporary hotel in the city centre of Leeds. It boasts the largest indoor swimming pool in Leeds, a well-equipped fitness centre, and a sauna.

drinks at Kapow Coffee Leeds
Leeds
Café or Coffee Shop
Kapow Coffee

Kapow Coffee is an independent coffee shop located in Thornton’s Arcade in the heart of Leeds City Centre, serving cakes, sandwiches and delicious coffee.

City Varieties Music Hall
Leeds
Theatre
City Varieties Music Hall

Established in 1865, City Varieties Music Hall is Leeds’ hidden gem, and holds a record as the nation’s longest-running music hall.

El Gato Negro Tapas Leeds
Leeds
Restaurant
El Gato Negro Tapas Leeds

The latest restaurant in the ever-expanding El Gato Negro Tapas empire makes it to Leeds, occupying a suitably stunning building on Park Row.

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.