New Leeds College of Music Library Opens Its Doors

By Kath Hartley


The brand new Leeds College of Music library has opened its doors for the first time! Set in the Quarry Hill Skyline Building within Leeds’ Cultural Quarter, the new library increases resources and study space available to our students. To follow in early 2018, we will introduce our first memberships for the public, offering on-site access to our extensive music collection. 

Our Collection

Our music collection includes over 30,000 items of printed music, 11,000 CDs, 700 DVDs, as well as around 8,000 books. Other highlights of our unique collection include:

Our 9000-strong vinyl archive, largely comprising jazz LPs, which has continued to grow due to the generous donations of several avid jazz collectors. The recent rise in popularity of vinyl has seen an increase in usage of the collections, which also include pop, film and classical. The discs also get a regular outing from DJs at the conservatoire’s B-Side night.

Amongst the sheet music collection are the original scores of Ted Heath, the bandleader of Britain’s greatest post-war big band, who recorded over 100 albums and sold more than 20 million. Post-war, paper was in very short supply, so some scores are written on manuscript paper that is printed on the reverse of no-longer-required military maps.

Library users can also find detailed diaries of drummer, teacher and author Max Abrams from 1943 – 1992. These document his personal life and performance career, alongside information about his pupils. He was dismissive of most of his students (descriptions included ‘harmless’, ‘a nit’ and ‘grim’) but every lesson from the 1960s onwards is recorded. He fixed his pupils with jobs in big bands, theatre bands and elsewhere, taking a generous agent’s fee for his troubles.


The Development

The £1.25M development, created by Darnton B3 Architecture, is a new bespoke learning environment created over two stories. The flexible study space has been furnished by WeSpace, and includes private study pods with screens for group working, sit-stand desks and a group study room. The new library site will also see a increase in computer facilities on site for students to use. 

Over £185,000 has been secured through fundraising to help build the new library, including a £50K grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation alongside support from The Wolfson Foundation and HEFCE. A further £19K has been raised in donations from supporters in the community, including several Leeds College of Music alumni. Each contribution will be recognised on a supporters wall in the new library.

Gerry Godley, Principal and Managing Director of Leeds College of Music says;

"At Leeds College of Music we are committed to continually investing in resources and facilities for our students to ensure that we offer the best possible music education. The new library will not only provide a stimulating space for study, but will also house key resources for any burgeoning musician. This is why we are delighted to be able to extend this offering to music lovers across the city – it’s a fantastic addition to the creative and cultural resources of Leeds.”

The new library was officially opened to staff and students on 18 September 2017, with public access following in 2018.

Donate to the new LCoM Library project by visiting our Support Us page.

By Kath Hartley

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