the leeds librARY

The Old Librarian's Office at the Leeds Library

The Old Librarian's Office at the Leeds Library

The Leeds Library founded 1768

2019 Annual Subscription:

  • Individual (£132) Adult aged 26 years and over

  • Joint (£187) Two adults living at the same address

  • Family (£209) two adults and any children (under 18) and living at the same address

  • Student (£66) : full-time students, aged 18 and over, studying at any educational institution

  • Young Person (£66): aged 16-25 years

  • Gift Membership is available for all of our subscription categories

  • Corporate - details on application

Apply online here.


Founded in 1768 as a proprietary subscription library, the Leeds Library is a cultural and architectural gem in the heart of Leeds city centre and is now the oldest surviving example of this sort of library in the British Isles. It became a charity on 1 July 2008.


There is a wide-ranging modern lending collection of books, magazines and audio/visual items to which about 1500 additions are made each year mostly by Member recommendation. A historic collection of over 140,000 books is particularly strong in travel, biography, history and literature. There are also long runs of periodicals, popular novels and children's books and special collections of Civil War pamphlets and Reformation Tracts.


Grade II* listed 1808 Greek Revival building by Thomas Johnson with major 1880-81 extension to the rear by Thomas Ambler.

Contact information

18 Commercial Street, Leeds LS1 6AL
tel: 01132 453 071 / email:

Open Monday-Wednesday 9.30-18.00; Thursday 9.30-19.00; Friday 9.30-17.00; Saturday 9.30-13.30

Researchers are very welcome to visit us by prior appointment. We require two forms of ID, one of which must include a home address. In addition, we run an extensive events programme and hold twice monthly tours which are free and open to all, as well as public opening from 5-7pm every Thursday.



Charitable company no. 1114386
Registered company number: 5577905

The Leeds Library newsletter - Speaks Volumes