The library of the American Institute for Lankan Studies in Colombo is open to AISLS members and other scholars. It is a reference library – materials may not be removed from the premises. Photocopying facilities are available. Inquires concerning the use of the library should be made to the center staff. The center is normally open from 9:15 to 4:00 on weekdays, pending staff availability. It is closed on Sri Lankan holidays. We suggest that you telephone in advance to check that the library is open (011-2508512).

The library holds about 1,500 books. In addition to books on Sri Lanka, the collection includes works on other regions (mainly other countries in South, Southeast, and West Asia) and theoretical works that provide perspectives useful for scholars working on Sri Lanka. It has special strengths in the following areas:

  • books published since 2000 in Sri Lanka, including some works in Sinhala and Tamil as well as English.
  • reference books, including bibliographies, dictionaries, and directories.
  • books on Sri Lanka published in India, Europe, and the United States.
  • Islam (West Asia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia).
  • Indian history and politics.
  • Pali Text Society volumes.
  • Guidebooks, maps, and accommodation guides that may be useful for visitors to Sri Lanka.

The library’s book collection is documented in our online catalog. Other materials, such as journals, article offprints, conference proceedings and NGO reports are also available. Holdings include a complete run of the Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities and a selection of compact disks that offer summaries and translations of recent Sri Lankan press coverage.

The library subscribes to JSTOR, an on-line scholarly database that offers full-text retrospective coverage of many international journals. The Center staff offers library patrons help in searching the JSTOR database, and have held workshops on the use of JSTOR and other online scholarly resources at many universities and research institutes.