The National Library in Colombo holds 206,300 volumes and is the largest public library in the country. Apart from the libraries in Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Kandy, and a few other towns, most public libraries have only small collections of books. The University of Peradeniya has holdings of 670,000 volumes, while the University of Colombo has 240,000. There are several special libraries in Colombo, including the National Museum Library, which contains 681,000 volumes (147,000 which are monographs) and has been a depository for Ceylonese and Sri Lankan publications since 1885.
The five national museums, at Colombo, Galle, Jaffna, Kandy, and Ratnapura, contain collections pertaining to paleontology, zoology, prehistory, archaeology, and ancient art. One of Asia's finest zoological collections, as well as the largest known collection of Sinhala palm-leaf manuscripts, is in the Colombo museum. Three national botanical gardens, located at three different elevations above sea level, represent Sri Lanka's three distinct zones of vegetation. There are several archeological, ethnographic, and folk museums in the country. The Dutch Period Museum, the Art Gallery of the Sri Lankan Society of Art, the Natural History Museum, and a university archaeological museum are all in Colombo.