Leeds University Library

Library history


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1875

Council of the Yorkshire College of Science requests the Education Committee to "undertake arrangements for the custody of the Library".

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1884

In the new buildings in the Baines Memorial Wing "We have set apart for library purposes… a room capable of holding 10,000 volumes".

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1885

Appointment of Miss Fanny Passavant as first Librarian (overseen by academic Honorary Librarian) at a salary of 18 shillings per week.

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1901

Students first allowed to use the Library Catalogue themselves – but there are no periodicals listed at all.

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1904

Yorkshire College becomes University of Leeds – Library has 4,742 arts volumes, 2,251 maths and science volumes and 1,139 technology volumes.

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1913

New Honorary Librarian Prof. H. Bragg (1915 Nobel Prize for Physics with his son William Lawrence Bragg) "undertook to carry out the duties of Librarianship until the beginning of the next session".

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1919

Miss Passavant decides to retire (at 70); new professional Librarian Richard Offor appointed at £350 pa (previously Assistant Librarian at University College London); one of his first objectives is "to build a new University Library".

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1922-23

George Denison presents first endowment of £225 to Library in memory of his two sons killed in action.

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1925-26

Library in possession of 108,447 vols.

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1936

Opening of the Brotherton Library.

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1950

Romany Collection donated to the library by D.U.R., now D.U. McGrigor Phillips.

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1960-61

Donation of the Roth Collection, from Jewish historian Dr. Cecil Roth, with over 900 items pre-dating 1850, incl. Hebrew bibles, literature and histories.

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1963-64

Installation of a Xerox 914 copier "has made it possible for readers to obtain efficiently and at a moment's notice extracts from books and periodicals". There is an "enthusiastic response" to this innovation.

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1966

Building of proposed undergraduate library postponed due to funding problems.

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1968-69

University Grants Council proposes £560,000 towards new undergraduate library – Peter Chamberlin consulted regarding planning of new library.

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1970-71

Plans for new library accepted by University.

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1973-83

The Library gets its first computerised circulation system: ALS (offline).

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1975

Opening of the South Library for undergraduates.

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1977

New Medical and Dental Building, including new Medical Library (now Health Sciences Library).

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1979-80

Half a million loans a year.

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1987

Brotherton calculated to be 97% full.

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1993

The West Building opens to readers (formal opening in 1995); as part of the process, "Every book in the Brotherton is moved". Amalgamation of Special Collections and Brotherton Collection.

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1994

The first Library webpages.

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1997

Opening of EBL Learning Centre (including training rooms, conference room, etc.). Acquisition of the 14,000-volume library of Sir Herbert Read.

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2001-02

Presentation of the Fay and Geoffrey Elliott collection, including manuscripts of Oscar Wilde and Evelyn Waugh.

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2008

Refurbished and rebuilt Stanley & Audrey Burton Art Gallery opens.

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2009-10

M&S Archive/Library Store work approved and begun; the Library has over 2 million visits for the first time.