The new library opened in February 2004 and is gathering a new collection of books with donations from around the world. It is a cool place to escape from the Jaffna heat. You must remove your shoes at the entrance and there is a fee to take photographs inside the building. It is wheelchair accessible, quite a rarity in Sri Lanka, and there is an internal cafe facility for library members.
The Jaffna Library is an imposing white building constructed in Moghul style near the fort The original library was torched by a mob in 1981. What was considered to be one of the best collections of literature in South Asia was completely destroyed, including many irreplaceable manuals and palm leaf manuscripts. It was always a great source of pride for Jaffna and the library's destruction was considered a terrible blow to a people who greatly value learning.