This unique library on Sri Lanka, perhaps the only one of its kind overseas, is located in Melbourne, Australia. It was started by me in 1968, when I immigrated to Australia. At that time, I had only one book on Sri Lanka but today I have accumulated nearly 5000 books, 2000 magazines and journals..
The Library is used mainly by students, academics, writers and authors, expatriate Sri Lankans and in short, by anyone who needs any information on Sri Lanka. A number of quasi government departments, non-governmental organisations and associations also use this valuable collection of material on Sri Lanka.
Those who do genealogical research find the entire collection of Dutch Burgher Union Journals (issued from 1908) and the indexes to the Baptism and Marriage Registers of the Dutch Reformed Church, Wolvendaal, Colombo (from 1700 to 1950) and the Register of Dutch Company Servants VOC) a very useful starting point in their research.
The books in the Library are classified into many headings, some of which are: History (Portuguese Period, Dutch Period, British Period), Geography, Politics, Religion, Tourism, Culture, Sports, Language/Literature/Writing, Agriculture, Economics, Art/Architecture, Dictionaries, Bibliographies, Biographies, Education, Cookery, Year Books, Anthropology, Flora/Fauna, Ethnic Issues etc.
Among the magazines and journals in the collection are: Loris (Journal of the Wildlife & Nature Protection Society), Sri Lanka Nature (Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka), Journal of South Asian Natural History (Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka), Serendip (In-flight Magazine of Air Lanka/SriLankan Airlines), Ceylon Today (Ceylon Government Information Department), Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Economic Review (Peoples Bank Research Department Publication), Ceylon Journal of Medical Science (University of Colombo), Ceylon Journal of Historical and Social Studies (Historical & Social Studies Publication Board) Spolia Zeylanica (Ceylon Journal of Science - Colombo Museum), etc.
A number of other publications such as, Times of Ceylon Annuals, Ceylon Observer Annuals, School and College Souvenirs, Reports and Studies on the Colombo Plan, Buddhist Encyclopaedia, are available. Copies of reports, dissertations, theses - done by those using the Library, are also lodged with the Library.
All the services of the Library are absolutely free of charge. The only 'charge' made is that any written items on Sri Lanka or Sri Lankan topics produced by the users, must be lodged with the Library for future reference by others.
Donations of any publications and other material on Sri Lanka to the Library, by any individual, organisation or government department, are always welcome. Please contact the Library for further details.
Monash Library Inaugural Victor Melder Lecture delivered by Dr Samanthi Gunawardana (April 2022)