The XGRR was established in June 2000 to serve as a safe place where children, youth, students, and the public at large, could access books and resources with a view to fostering a love of reading within the community.  Since then, the XGRR has contributed significantly to library development in Timor-Leste and has hosted a range of educational and other activities aimed at nurturing pride in East Timorese culture and promoting skills development.


The XGRR “recognises the importance of, and strongly supports the development of a public library service to inform and educate all Timorese people.  It acknowledges the valuable role libraries increasingly play in communities around the world in promoting life-long learning and providing a safe public space”.


The mission of the XGRR is to provide a space where people in Dili, including foreign visitors, can access information and resources in the official and working languages to educate and to expand their knowledge about Timor-Leste’s history, culture, languages and development in order to:


  1. Strengthen the Timorese people’s sense of identity, partly through the promotion and creation of reading materials, oral histories and resources in Tetun and other local languages, and partly through public performances such as music and dance;
  2. Acquire items of cultural significance in any form, including artwork, photographs, poetry, recordings and realia (library science);
  3. Increase awareness of Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence;
  4. Empower Timorese people to make informed decisions about their nation’s future development.


While focusing on resources about Timor-Leste, the XGRR will continue to provide and build upon the collection of general information resources available to the public, servicing the needs of current and future user groups. 


The Centre has a public library that is free for all residents of Dili and visitors to Dili. It offers a range of information and leisure resources including newspapers, non-fiction, junior fiction, popular fiction and DVD’s. An extensive East Timor Reference Collection in the Tetum, Portuguese, English and Bahasa languages are available for the public and researchers to use. Public access computers are available free of charge with internet, email access and Microsoft office programmes. A cushioned children’s area has picture books, activities and games available for children to relax in.

The bookshop has books available for purchase on Timorese life, history, language and its leaders. There is a range of children’s books available as well as postcards and locally produced arts and crafts.

Artifacts on display in the museum include awards and presentations made to Xanana Gusmão. The museum room contains photographs of Xanana’s life as a resistance fighter as well as President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.

Two exhibition spaces provide free exhibition showcasing the Reading Room’s permanent collection of photographs and a series of paintings completed by Xanana while he was imprisoned in Indonesia in the 1990’s along with visiting collections of art, photography, tais and cultural artifacts.

The uma mahon (shade house) provides a traditional outdoor undercover meeting and activity space. The uma mahon can also be hired for events including meetings, workshops, exhibitions and educational programmes.


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