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National Museum Library

Along with the Colombo National Museum Library was also, established in 1st of January in 1877. The Government Oriental library (1870) was incorporated in to Colombo National Museum Library, and served as the nucleus of the library collection by collecting the local publications during the past 129 years; the library has been functioning as an unofficial national library in Sri Lanka; became the first Legal Deposit library in the Island. This resulted in the accumulation of a valuable collection of materials pertaining to Sri Lanka. From its inception, special attention has been given to building up of a collection related to Sri Lanka, Orientation and Natural Science.
Library Holding
Special Collections
  1. Private Collection of late Mr. H. C. P. Bell.
  2. Private Collection of Mr. Hugh Nevil.
  3. Private collection of Palm leaf manuscripts of Dr. W. A. De Silva.
  4. Mr. Henry Blake’s collection of Palm leaf manuscripts donated by Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranayake
  5. Ven. Kalukodayawe Pannasekera Maha Thero’s collection of Sinhala Periodicals & Newspapers.
Those collections indeed portray the development of the library holdings and in 1885 the law requires that a copy of every document printed in the country has to be deposited in the museum library. At present the library accommodates over 12 million titles including a large number of rare books, periodicals and palm leaf manuscripts.
The courage and the collection reflect the subject areas of interests and on going activities of the museum. The scope of the museum library is as follows;
Arts and Humanities : Archaeology, Ethnology, Anthropology, Oriental Languages and Literature.
Natural Sciences : Zoology, Entomology, Geology and Botany
This huge collection of the library could be separated in to various groups according to the document type.



Palm leaf collection which are written in Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit, Burmese, Telegu and Tamil characters among the subjects covered are Buddhism, Sinhala literature, History, Indigenous Medicine, Astrology, Demonology, Veterinary Science, Art, Architecture and Folklore.



Printed books and Pamphlets. This collection comprises the entire range of documents from the first work printed in 1737 to the latest book.



Periodical collection such as Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (CB), Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register, Young Ceylon etc…The collection was built up to a great extent by exchanges received from the institutions in all parts of the globe. Foreign periodical collection contains important titles such as discovery reports, Ray Society publications,



Government Publications- such as Blue books from 1864-1938, Administration Reports from 1867 to date, Sessional papers from 1860 up to date, Hansards from 1863-1962 etc..
5. Directories, Statistical year books, Trade catalogues etc
6. Law Reports
7. Maps and Drawings
8. Stamps and post cards
Most of these library materials could be obtain in as
Library Publications
Periodical Index
Subject bibliographies
Cliental of the library
The Director and the staff
Approved readers such as researches, university staff both under graduate and post graduation candidates, Subject specialists and normal public.
Services of the library
Reference service
Reader advisory service
Inquiry service
Content page services and current awareness service
Reprographic services (Provision of Microforms, Photocopies and photographs)
Short reading lists are prepared on request
Postal and telephone inquiries received by the library are obliged.
Newspaper clipping service
Opening Hours
8.30 a. m. to 5.00 p.m. (except Sundays and government holidays)
Contact Details
Name : Mrs. U.L.R.N.Lakmali
Designation : Librarian
Tel. No: : 011-2693314
: 011-2694767 - Ex 228 / 229

Image Gallery : National Museum Library