iSurprise Kamani Abey Wickrama

Librarian, radiographer and Fort resident

Galle Fort is special because it’s one of the very few living fortresses in the world. It has a history of over 400 years and is an epitome of all communities living in harmony. It’s an honour and a privilege to be a resident and part of this wonderful community.
— Kamani Abeywickrama

A community service

I have been the librarian since June 2018. It has been a change of career as I am a professionally qualified medical radiographer and worked in Zambia, Sri Lanka and California for almost 19 years. I consider my role to be a service rather than a job. Since I returned to Sri Lanka I have wanted to serve this place. I’ve always loved reading, particularly history, adventure, science-fiction and books by Wilbur Smith and Arthur Hailey. My favourite book in the library is The Island of Ceylon by Robert Percival because it gives a good sense of what the country was like in the British colonial period.

A historic space

The library is special because it’s the oldest in the recorded history of Sri Lanka. I adore its old looks and the traditions preserved since it was established in 1832. I enjoy the simple and serene environment, and also the friendliness of the community. There are officially 130 members but only a few are active. The library is valued by the community because it’s a historical monument. We have members representing all communities including expats who reside in Sri Lanka and therefore I believe that it provides a focal point.

Fresh innovations

Since I began, we have initiated a junior club and enrolled young members. It’s wonderful to see them reading here. There is now air-conditioning and we are on the way to computerising and re-categorising all the books. There is also a new Sinhala literary section.

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