University of Peradeniya library

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University of Peradeniya Library
CountrySri Lanka
TypeAcademic library
Coordinates7°15′18″N 80°35′48″E / 7.254902°N 80.596576°E / 7.254902; 80.596576Coordinates: 7°15′18″N 80°35′48″E / 7.254902°N 80.596576°E / 7.254902; 80.596576
Items collectedbooks, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, maps, prints, drawings and manuscripts
Size815,000 (approx.)[a]
Legal deposit357,699 (as of 2008)
Access and use
Circulation256,000 (approx.)
Population servedUniversity of Peradeniya and worldwide
MembersUniversity of Peradeniya (and some other groups on application)
Other information
DirectorP.E. Harrison Perera

The University of Peradeniya library is a centrally administered network of libraries in the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. It is considered the oldest academic library in Sri Lanka and one of the largest libraries in Sri Lanka today.[b]


It was founded as the University College Library in 1921. With the amalgamation of the Ceylon University College and the Ceylon Medical College in 1942 to form the first university in Sri Lanka, the University of Ceylon, University College library became the University of Ceylon library. At the time this transformation occurred, the library contained nearly 30,000 items. The entire facility was moved to Peradeniya in 1952, with the establishment of a new seven-story building in the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya campus. The first donation to the library was the valuable and extensive collection on history, literature and oriental studies of late Arunachalam Padmanabha donated by his father Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam. The Vol. 1 of the 11th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica was given the accession number 1.[citation needed]

The University of Peradeniya library has changed its name from time to time as follows:[citation needed]

  • Library, Ceylon University College (1921 to 1942)
  • Library, University of Ceylon (1942 to 1952)
  • Library, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya (1952 to 1972)
  • Library, Peradeniya Campus, University of Sri Lanka (1972 to 1978)
  • Library, University of Peradeniya (since 1979)

The scholar H. A. I. Goonetilleke served the library as chief librarian from 1971 to 1979 and is largely responsible for its growth.

Main Library[edit]

The Main Library is located in a seven-story building at the angle of the Senate Building and the Arts Block of the University of Peradeniya. This library contains nearly 300,000 books as of 2009. It serves primarily the faculty of Arts. The electronic database of the main library was created in 1992.


  • The Agriculture Library was created in the 1960s and was amalgamated with the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture in 1980.
  • The Allied Health Science Library was created for the youngest faculty in the university – the faculty of Allied Health Sciences – in January 2007.
  • The Dental Library was created in 2008 and is the 9th and the youngest member in the university library network.
  • The Engineering Library was created in 1964. A new two-story building was granted to the library in 2000.
  • The Medical Library was established in 1973. It served all three Medical, Veterinary Science and Dental faculties by the 1980s, before they got independent libraries.
  • The Science Library was established in a new building in 1993.
  • Veterinary science students were served by the Agriculture Library up to 1973. Thereafter the Vet students were served by the Medical Library up to 1994 till the Veterinary Science library was established in that year.
  • Mahailuppallama Library

Library statistics[edit]

Table: Library statistics on collections
Statistics up to 31 December 2009[1]
Library Lending collection Reference collection Number of periodical titles subscribed Audio/video material Number of students registered Number of staff registered
Main Library 257,789 34,865 110 648 7,466 2,409
Agriculture Library 26,110 9,800 14 188 1,376 218
Allied Health Science Library 616 786 14 564 38
Dental Library 466 563 11 44 229 44
Engineering Library 26,908 11,992 43 258 1,549 169
Mahailuppallama Library 1,204 239 15 38 128 4
Medical Library 4,979 17,384 23 213 1,563 268
Science Library 13,099 12,312 16 643 2,366 186
Veterinary Library 1,533 4,224 5 84 331 50
Total 332,684 92,165 242 2,130 15,572 3,386

Special collections[edit]

As part of its collection[2] of more than 430 000 volumes, the library contains printed and manuscript material from earlier times. This includes:

  • Donations from A. Pathmanabha, Charles Batuwantudawe, Thomas William Rhys Davids, Rev. Rambukwelle Siddhartha, A. C. Sulaiman, Andreas Nell, Lucian Janz, E.J.Thomas, George Grierson, H.R. Hamley, Albert M. Fehring, C.W. Nicholas and George H. Wickramanayake, W. A. Silva, Henry de Mel[3]
  • Map collection (largest historical map collection in Sri Lanka)[4]
  • Ceylon Room
  • Legal Deposit Materials Collection – More than 226,453 publications (excluding newspapers) printed in Sri Lanka and registered in the National Archives Department.
  • Collection of palm leaf manuscripts – Over 5000 palm-leaf manuscripts, which have been catalogued, accessioned and microfilmed. It is the second largest palm-leaf manuscript collection in Sri Lanka.
  • Collection of microfilms of rare materials (approximately 17,000 items)
  • Collection of stamps of the world prepared by the journalist and writer Carl A. Muller.[5]
  • Bound periodical collection (7,000 titles)

See also[edit]


a. ^ Table 4.1: Number of books and bound volumes of periodicals (pp.71), published in the University of Peradeniya Hand Book 2008.[6]
b. ^ "The oldest academic library in Sri Lanka, founded in 1921 as the university College Library became the University of Ceylon Library in 1942 and was moved to Peradeniya in 1952. Currently it has one of the largest collections in the country, numbering more than 500,000 in volume" – International dictionary of library histories, Volume 1.[7]


  1. ^ "University of Peradeniya Library Network, Statistical Profile on Collections and Users". University of Peradeniya. 2010. Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  2. ^ Library Collections
  3. ^ "Donations, Bequests and Valuable Collections belonging to the main library". University of Peradeniya. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Facilities and Services: University of Peradeniya Library Network". Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya. 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Donations, Bequests and Valuable Collections belonging to the Science Library". University of Peradeniya. 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  6. ^ "University of Peradeniya Hand Book 2008" (PDF). University of Peradeniya. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  7. ^ Stam, David H. (2001). International dictionary of library histories, Volume 1. 919 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 760, Chicago 2, 60611, USA: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.CS1 maint: location (link), p.166

External links[edit]