Colombo Public Library.

Colombo’s Public Library is pretty old and has a huge collection of books, in all three languages too. It’s not one of the most inviting places in Colombo to read at, but it opens out to Viharamahadevi park where you can maybe take your library book and set up camp.


The Public Library is right next to Viharamahadevi Park and since the whole space has been re-done, there’s a continuity between the library, the world war memorial and the park, which makes the outside area a beautiful space to chill at.

Thankfully there’s a helpful map of the place just outside the entrance. To sum up the important bits – when you walk inside, you go to your right for the library, and to your left to the newspaper room. If you step outside and walk around the main building – to the east end, you’ll find the study hall, and on the west end (passing the memorial, park and parking space), you’ll find the auditorium and the canteen. Next to the auditorium is an awesome little sale inside a lobby (more on that later).

The Library

The library is pretty big, with a whole bunch of genres. The entrance space is loaded with English books but there are also Tamil and Sinhala sections. You’ve got everything from Oscar Wilde to Vampire Diaries, some interesting coffee table books, and even a random collection of comics at the bottom of a shelf titled ‘Arts & Recreation’. The library is all dark furniture, dark floors and black leather binding, with rows of little Phillips bulbs hanging from the ceiling, so except for the ends of the room by the windows, it’s actually a dreary walk between bookshelves.

We appreciate their noble attempt to somehow organize the books in an order using labels, but the categorization is a bit disorienting. A big blue notice told us that the books were labelled with the first three letters of the author’s name, so a Nicolas Sparks book would be labelled SPA. These capital letter labels against the black leather Public Library binding make your trip around the library a slightly confusing one – you can’t easily find the books you want, although at least the bookshelves have labels of the main genres like ‘fiction’, ‘non-fiction’, ‘sciences’ and so on.

There’s a reading space at the very end of the library, with a few wooden tables and plastic chairs and windows that open out to the park. The internet section is in the lower right corner of the library.

The Newspaper Room

The library’s comprehensive newspaper room is loads more inviting on a sunny day than the library, with nice furniture and windows on all sides.

The Study Hall

The study hall is better than the library building by a mile – you’ll find it on the east end of the premises, around the right side of the main building. The reading tables are more reader-friendly, the browns and whites more soothing, and it’s very well lit up.

The glass on the exterior of the study hall is pretty cool because it’s weirdly tilted towards the ground to show you a reflection of the pavement and grass.

Green Space

The outside of the library is a very green space, with trees and a little pond on the library grounds itself, clean brick pavements, and also the war memorial space and green park next to the parking area.

Sales Next-Door

There’s a little lobby that few people know about, on the west corner of the premises, around the left side of the library building. There’s always a sale here of second hand books, which although are of a limited range are given away at ridiculous 20-50% discounts. But even cooler than that is that you get a rare collection of high quality vintage movie CDs here, a lot of English ones, but also Hindi ones, some with Sinhala subtitles – movies that aren’t in stores anymore and are difficult to come by even online in good quality.

They are sold at just Rs. 100 and there’s a DVD player to check if they work before you make your purchase. We were told most of the stuff here are from the personal collections of the people who run the sale itself. The sale is open every day from 9AM to 4.30PM.


We love the public library because it’s so old – the books are aged and yellow and they smell amazing, and any proper bookworm will understand the charm of being in a room full of hundreds of stories, and wondering how many people must have leafed through the same books before you since decades ago. There’s a big selection inside, though the interior is rather drab and finding something you have in mind might be a feat. We suggest you borrow your books and you head out to the study hall or the park for a better reading space.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Cooking with the Silvermill Coconut Culinary Range

As a Sri Lankan, can you imagine cooking without coconut? It is a universally accepted

Highlights Kamu

Cheers to The Great Indian Roast at Bombay Borough

By Hashini Pathirana We are all here for a short time and definitely for a

Highlights Kamu

Get Fuel’d with Street Burger’s All New Lunch Menu!

By Shamrina Carim Street Burger has launched an exciting, affordable, and a simple lunch menu

Highlights Kamu

Fine Dining with a Sri Lankan twist

Black Coral at Jetwing Beach, Negombo By Shanali Fdo Bringing the luxury of fine dining


An epic Saturday brunch at Uga Residence

By Shamrina Carim Rare bar + Kitchen is a quintessential significant historical home that is

Highlights Kamu

Koththamalli café by Rohan – Jetwing Beach

By Shanali Fdo “බොන්න නංගි මල්ලි සැවොම කොත්තමල්ලී ඔය ලෙඩට දුකට ඔබට පිහිට වෙන්නේ කොත්තමල්ලී”…. 



PickMe celebrates the launch of PickMe Pass!

PickMe had an exciting event where they celebrated the launch of their new initiative PickMe


Shangri-La Colombo Toasts to Five Years of Celebrating the Colorful Joys of Life

Shangri-La Colombo toasts to five years of celebrating the colourful joys of life here in


Don’t miss these 11 Daraz Deals on Electronic Appliances

Daraz 11.11 Biggest Sale! Daraz, the leading e-commerce platform in Sri Lanka, is all prepped


A Cabin Immersed in Nature

The Latest Addition to Hanthana Eco Lodge Delivers a Transcending Experience Inspired by the wonders


Vegan and Vegetarian Spots around Colombo (October 2022)

By RR This article is dedicated to all the vegans and vegetarians out there looking

Highlights Trending Yamu Guide

Oktoberfest 2022 at Hilton Colombo

By Shanali Fdo Zigge Zagge, Zigge Zagge HOI HOI HOI!!! Is what Hilton is all about


Yamu Guide.

High Tea Buffet Round Up 2022

By Ruchika Seneviratne The exquisite British tradition of High tea has well and truly cemented

Highlights Yamu Guide

Vegan and Vegetarian Spots around Colombo (October 2022)

By RR This article is dedicated to all the vegans and vegetarians out there looking

Highlights Trending Yamu Guide

5 Things to expect at Nelum Kuluna

By Ruchika Seneviratne It is the ‘Full happening’ place in Colombo right now. It seems

Yamu Guide

7 Cozy Cafés around Colombo (October 2022)

By Rahma Rifkhan Every now and then, we all just need to press pause on

Highlights Yamu Guide

6 Stores to get the iPhone14

By Shanali Fdo Bigger and better than ever Apple has done it again! The talk

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 of the Best Ice-Cream Spots

By Rahma Rifkhan They say happiness comes in many forms.  But, hands down, the best

Highlights Yamu Guide