Music library’s new home will strike a chord with the Leeds public

Library manager Claire Marsh at the collection's present home.
Library manager Claire Marsh at the collection's present home.
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It’s a truly noteworthy collection that would be hard to fit on even the most powerful iPod.

Thousands of CDs and vinyl records – covering everything from jazz to classical to pop and plenty of points in between – are held in the library at Quarry Hill’s Leeds College of Music.

But at present they are in the main only accessed by the college’s students, away from the eyes and ears of the wider Leeds public.

From next year, however, the collection will be easily available to students and non-students alike when it is moved to a new home in another building on Quarry Hill.

Based on the ground floor of the area’s Skyline development, the purpose-built library will also contain student learning spaces, meeting rooms and offices.

And staff at the college today told of their excitement at the prospect of sharing their musical treasure trove with people across the city.

Leeds College of Music principal and managing director Gerry Godley said: “In order to remain a leading player in the UK’s music education marketplace, it is critical that our facilities remain cutting edge and enhance our diverse and innovative offer.

“This new home for the library, and the creation of an additional stimulating place to study, will play a key part in achieving this.

“As part of our aim to be a centre of creative discovery for Leeds, I’m delighted that we’ll also be able to share our extensive collections with music lovers throughout the city.”

The archive comprises 11,000 CDs, 9,000 LPs and 700 DVDs as well as 8,000 books and more than 30,000 items of printed music.

It has built up over the last 20 years or so thanks to generous donations from a range of benefactors.

Library manager Claire Marsh said one of the most important parts of the collection was a set of around 1,500 arrangements once used by the legendary Ted Heath Band.

The space in the Skyline building will be designed and delivered by the DarntonB3 Architecture firm, which worked on the recently opened new entrance at the college’s Quarry Hill campus.

DarntonB3 director Keith Hardcastle said: “It is great to be involved in the development of such an exciting and important facility on behalf of Leeds College of Music.”

Planning permission for the scheme has already been secured and construction is due to begin in January.

It is hoped the project – the latest addition to Quarry Hill’s so-called ‘cultural quarter’ – will be completed by June next year.

Other organisations with a presence in the area include the BBC, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance.

Opened in 2009, the 16-storey Skyline building is home to a mix of luxury apartments but its ground floor is currently vacant.