J. R. Jayewardene Centre was established under the provisions of Act No. 77 of 1988 of the Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, comprising a research library, archival depository and museum of memorabilia of the first elected Executive President of Sri Lanka. At a subsequent stage, a Japanese Museum and the Ryugen Garden was added to the main institution. The library consists of more than 16000 titles, some of which are reference books, rare books, the first editions of rare books, books on Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and government publications. This is considerably a large collection covering subject areas of history, literature, religion, contemporary politics, sociology and humanities in general.
Holding more than 16000 titles, among them are reference books, rare first editions, books on Sri Lanka covering wide range of subjects including history, poetry (English and Sinhala), contemporary politics, social science and government publications.
The manuscripts collection of the JR Jayewardene Centre has archival materials ranging from his family heirlooms and related documents, particularly on politics of Sri Lanka since the beginning of the 19th century up to date. The entire collection is divided into two parts namely, part I and II for easy reference. Both parts are catalogued and could be accessed or searched by using either database or manual index. The collection includes diverse material including newspaper cuttings, greetings cards, letters of appointment, educational certificates, papers relating to various international conferences, national and international correspondence, manuscripts of his own writings and some of his personal diaries since 1923 up to his last days.
The most important and valuable holdings of the Library collection are the Rare Books, among them are:
- Ananda K. Coomaraswarmy, Mediaeval Sinhalese Art (1908)
- Arnold Wright, Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon (1907)
- Philippus Baldaeus, Description of Ceylon ( 1672)
- Robert Knox, An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies (1681)
PERIODICALS AND JOURNALS
Local and overseas periodicals and journals including past copies of National Geographic Journal commencing from 1968 to 1990.
The Centre is also in possession of copies of the Government Gazettes from 1931, New Law Reports and Hansards from 1947, Administration Reports, Sessional Papers, Orders-in-Council and Civil Lists, etc.
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RECEIVED AS BEQUESTS
This consists the bequests of Mrs. Indrani Iriyagolla (2007) on behalf of late Mr. Gamini Abhaya Iriyagolla comprising books relating to the national issues including that of the north and the east with its history of over 20 years and other material on terrorism, socio-political history, irrigation, agriculture and the like. The other special collections are that of Mr. Prematilaka Mapitigama Collection accessed in 2012, Mr. Bandu de Silva Collection accessed in 2014 and Prof. Indrakeerthi Siriweera Collection accessed in 2017. The material in these collections also can be accessed using the main database.
COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS
A collection of photographs (black and white and colour) is in possession of the Centre which is very important resource among the library collection, particularly relating to the political career of J.R. Jayewardene spanning over half a century. It is an extensive collection of loose photographs and albums including his state visits to various countries. Loose photographs can be searched using photo catalogue (photo database) and those in albums can be accessed using the manual index and database for albums.
The loose photographs are classified under several main headings, namely, HE JR Jayewardene’s, Personal Life, Education, Family Circle, Parliamentary Matters, International Affairs and Religious Activities.
The albums of photographs are indexed under following main topics: Family Events, Overseas Visits, SAARC Summits, Japanese Peace Conference, Offering of Manelwatta to Sanga, Giving Oaths as the First Elected Executive President, Opening of the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital and Hiroshima Museum.
COLLECTION OF NEWSPAPER CUTTINGS
Collection of Cartoons
- H E J. R. Jayewardene
- H E Mahinda Rajapaksa
- H E Gotabaya Rajapaksa
- H E Maithreepala Sirisena
- Hon Ranil Wickramasinghe
Collection of Articles
- H E J. R. Jayewardene and His Family
- J. R. Jayewardene Centre
AUDIO VISUAL MATERIAL
The Audio visual collection of the JR Jayewardene Centre is spanning from the beginning of his political carrier up to his demise. The holdings are in different formats including Audio CD, VCD, DVD, Beta Cam, U-Matic and VHS. J.R. Jayewardene Centre provides facilities to listen and watch his speeches, documentaries on his personality and contribution to the country. In addition to his discussions with the people and media, there is a series of interviews had with Mr. Arun Dias Bandaranaike, namely, ‘Men and Memories’ on reflections of various aspects of Sri Lankan political arena as a veteran political figure in Sri Lanka.
Information seekers can browse the details through the databases, indexes as well as online database. Those who need copies of documentaries and CDs can buy them from the Center on a payment. 629 Recorded speeches including audio CDs, 88 VCD and 60 DVD are available.