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Libraries in Sri Lanka in the Ancient Anuradhapura Period: a Historical Account (250 B.C. – 1017 A.D.)

Authors:

RAAS Ranaweera ,

Assistant Librarian, University of Kelaniya, LK
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Piyadasa Ranasinghe

Senior Lecturer, Dept.of Library and Information Sciences, University of Kelaniya
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Abstract

The origin of libraries in Sri Lanka is related to the introduction of Buddhism to the Island. Buddhism was formally introduced to Sri Lanka by Venerable Mahinda, in the third century B.C. during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. The advent of Arahant Mahinda and Arahant Sangamimtha to the country during the ancient Anurādhapura era was considered as major landmark in history. The art of literary tradition and bibliographic activities properly began in the ancient Sri Lankan history with these two important events. Education also was enriched by the influence of Buddhism during the Anurādhapura period. There were three main learning centers for monks in ancient Sri Lanka namely the Mahavihara, the Abhayagiri and the Jetavana. It was quite possible that these religious and educational centers possess repositories of books or may be simply known as libraries. Recorded evidence available in the Mahawamsa and Culawamsa showed that there had been large numbers of monastic libraries in ancient Sri Lanka but it is difficult to find recorded evidence of these early types of libraries, except for the written facts available in early literature regarding their existence.

Journal of the University Librarians Association, Sri Lanka, Vol. 17, Issue 1, January 2013, Page 66-75

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/jula.v17i1.6645

How to Cite: Ranaweera, R. & Ranasinghe, P., (2014). Libraries in Sri Lanka in the Ancient Anuradhapura Period: a Historical Account (250 B.C. – 1017 A.D.). Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka. 17(1), pp.66–75. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jula.v17i1.6645
Published on 02 Mar 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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