Leeds, Leeds Star
A wide range of musical scores form part of the regional collection now available in Leeds Central Library.
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Celebrated regional music collection finds new home at Leeds Central Library

A prestigious regional music collection previously known as the Yorkshire Music Library, which future was left in doubt earlier in the year, has been given a new lease of life at Leeds Central Library.

This follows Leeds Libraries working closely with the Society of Chief Librarians in Yorkshire and the Humber to find a new permanent location for the collection after the previous administrators Fresh Horizons, a social enterprise based in Huddersfield, ceased operating in March 2016.

An invaluable resource to local and regional choral and orchestral groups, the service offers a wide ranging collection of vocal scores, part songs, orchestral material as well as music for chamber and wind bands. The new service is available through the Leeds Music and Performing Arts Library where the new collection enhances the existing collections, including drama sets and now means Leeds has one of the largest performance set collections in the country.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities said:

“I would like to extend my thanks to the chief librarians and library authorities in Yorkshire and Humber for all their support as we started work to move this prestigious regional musical collection to its new home at Leeds Central Library.

“This collection is an extremely important resource for so many musicians and groups, and it was absolutely vital that it was made available for people to use once again as quickly as possible. We are therefore delighted to now have the music collection here in Leeds and we are extremely proud to offer a collection that is now one of the largest and very best in the country.”

This collection has a long history going back to the 1930s when the first vocal scores and drama sets were brought together as the West Riding collection. This collection developed and became the Yorkshire and Humber Music and Drama collection service in the early 1970s. The collection was housed at the county’s library headquarters in Wakefield. Following local government reforms in 1974 ownership was transferred and the collection funded by a consortium of 12 Yorkshire councils, (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, East Riding of Yorkshire, Kirklees, Leeds, North Yorkshire, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wakefield and York), and administered from Wakefield by Yorkshire Libraries and Information, a regional organisation whose main aim was to promote co-operation between public library authorities in the Yorkshire region.

It was agreed in September 2011 to cease running the YLI service. At this time Leeds Libraries were successful in taking the drama stock while the music stock went to Fresh Horizons, a social enterprise based in Kirklees. Earlier this year, after Fresh Horizons ceased operations, the Society of Chief Librarians for the Yorkshire and Humber region considered and agreed to a proposal from Leeds Libraries to take over the running of the music collection thus reuniting the music and drama collections again at Leeds Central Library.

For further information about the collection and service please contact Leeds Music and Performing Arts Library musiclibrary@leeds.gov.uk or 0113 37 87014.

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