Loving Leeds Libraries during lockdown

The Public Libraries Act 1850 first gave local boroughs the power to establish free public libraries.

The idea was that this was a first step in creating a national institution to provide universal and free access to literature and information. According to Wikipedia, the 4,145 public libraries existing in 21st century UK can all trace their origins back to this Act.

I absolutely love books and I adore libraries but have often found myself stuck in the Infinity Library Loop of borrowing books, forgetting to return them in time, getting fined, avoiding the library for a while, going back to pay my fine and borrow books – and repeat!

In October 2019, Leeds Libraries went fine-free, including forgiving old fines. Thank goodness, as using the library has been a huge help to me during the lockdowns. It has also helped me in my efforts to stop using that huge online shop as much as I was (difficult when all essential shops were closed).

Now, when I hear, see, read, am told about a great book instead of clicking the “Buy It Now” button, I search for the book on the Leeds Libraries app, reserve it from the library and await a message telling me it’s ready to collect.

You can reserve audio books and e-books and you can even download magazines for free – BBC Good Food, Chat, Cosmopolitan, Empire, Auto Express, Radio Times, Vogue and lots more.

Leeds Libraries put on a wide range of online activities including Daily Storytime, Drop in and Draw, Code Club, #LeedsReadsBookClub, Games Group, Lego@LeedsLibraries and so much more. There really is something for everyone.

Upcoming online events include:

  • Friday, 7 May 1-2pm “19th Century Leeds: Political Cartoons in the Central Library Collection”
  • Tuesday, 11 May 1-2pm “Leeds Tapestry Showcase”
  • Thursday, 13 May 1-2pm “Simple Stitches for Spring”
  • Friday, 21 May 1-2pm “Mapping the Past: Local History Maps at the Central Library”
  • Thursday, 27 May 5.30-7pm “Art Lovers Book Club”
  • Friday, 4 June 1-2pm “Leeds Modernist in the Archive”
  • Wednesday, 9 June 2-3.30pm “Family History for Beginner’s Workshop”
  • Friday, 8 June 1-2pm “A Brief History of Leeds Cemeteries”
  • Wednesday, 30 June 2-3.30pm “Tracing Your Caribbean Ancestry”

You can book onto any of these online events by going to: www.ticketsource.co.uk/leedslibraryevents

If you are not yet a member of Leeds Libraries you can visit this website: leeds.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_G/libraryonline, and follow the links to register. You will be given a temporary membership number which will allow you to access all of the following sections of online services immediately:

  • Books & Reading
  • Developing Your Digital Skills
  • Learn From Home
  • Children & Young People
  • Creativity & Hobbies
  • Information and Research
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Business Support
  • Heritage

I think it’s time everyone rediscovered Leeds Libraries – it’s so much more than books these days and offers lots of ways to connect, communicate, create and educate yourself.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leedslibraries
Twitter: twitter.com/leedslibraries
Website: www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/libraries or leeds.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/libraryonline


This post was written by Hazel Millichamp

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