Nanjing University Library


Nanjing University Library is among the best university libraries in China. The new library on Xianlin Campus is named one of the most beautiful libraries in China.


With abundant collections accumulated for a long time, it has formed a comprehensive system. By the end of 2014, its collection reached 5.77 million (including collections in faculty reference rooms). It has up to 400,000 ancient thread-bound books,including over 3,000 kinds or over 30,000 copies of rare books.Its collection of regional documents, ancient bibliographies and book series has become one of its unique features. It leads the way in its collection of ancient regional annals, over 4,000 kinds or close to 40,000 copies, among major libraries of the country. The library has journals and periodicals in different languages from different regions and nations, especially those in physics, biology, geoscience and mathematics. It also has big collections of pre-1949 Chinese books and periodicals on social and natural sciences.

Over recent years, the library has made greater efforts to develop its electronic collections and purchased various kinds of network databases, CD-ROM databases. By the end of 2014, the e-resources it made available for use included 35,000 journals and periodicals in Chinese and 27,000 in foreign languages, 3.03 million kinds of books in Chinese and 600,000 kinds in foreign languages.

The library has collected journals and periodicals in more than 20 languages from over 80 countries and regions, and particularly well-known are those in physics, biology, geoscience, mathematics and Oriental studies. It has a big collection of pre-1949 Chinese books and journals on social sciences. In recent years, the collection and quality of the library were further strengthened as nationwide geosciences (geology, geography, meteorology, astronomy, and environmental sciences) teaching material centers and liberal arts literature centers were set up at the support of various educational authorities.

Nanjing University Library now coordinates the work of the reading rooms and reference rooms of the university’s 32 schools, departments and institutions. Meanwhile, it is in cooperation and association with more than 700 institutions at home and abroad and thus provides extensive, high-quality services for readers at the university and those in Nanjing and even in other cities of the country.

The library hosts the secretariat of Jiangsu Collegiate Books and Information Service Committee. As the site of this secretariat, the library has over the years made good contributions to the cooperation and exchange among university libraries in Jiangsu as well as the exchange between Jiangsu and other provinces.


History University Library has a long history, which goes back to the libraries of National Central University and the University of Nanking, both established around the beginning of the 20th century.


The library of National Central University came from the library of the Sanjiang Normal School, founded by the Qing Government in the 28th year of Guangxu’s reign(1902). This normal school’s library was said to serve teachers and students with voluminous books in Chinese and foreign languages. In the 31st year of Guangxi’s reign (1905), the school was renamed Liangjiang Advanced Normal School. When the Second Revolution broke out in 1913, the school was plundered by mutinous soldiers and bandits with only a few books left. In 1915,it became Nanjing Advanced Normal University and was renamed Southeast University in 1920. In 1923, the library was destroyed in fire.

/_upload/article/images/21/83/658f65994b36925ab995bf8d9730/89931de9-d182-4c4f-81f7-ceabded32939.jpgIn 1924, a new library was built up with the donation by Mr. Qi Mengfang and was named “Mengfang Library.” In 1928, the library changed its name by following the name of the school. In 1927, the school changed its name into No.4 Zhongshan University, in 1928 into Jiangsu University and shortly afterwards into National Central University. The library changed its name accordingly. After 1924,the library gradually became well-stocked. By May 1937, it had a total collection of 407,203 books in Chinese and foreign languages, with 117,846 Chinese books.

The predecessors of this university also included the Nanking University, Nanking Christian College and the Presbyterian Academy, set up the American church one after another from 1888 on. After several merging attempts, the University of Nanking was founded in1910, renamed Nanking School in 1915, and shortly afterwards renamed Nanking University, and it moved to Gulou Campus in 1916.


In 1910, the library of Nanking University was set up on the basis of the reading rooms of the three colleges that merged and at that time, it only had 2,250 books in foreign languages. The university, as a mission school, was less affected than others by the repeated social turmoils, and its library enjoyed a relatively steady growth. After the movement of taking back the educational rights in November 1927, the university was no longer under the control of the church but became under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.

In 1929, Nanking University established faculties of arts, sciences and agriculture together with a Chinese cultural research institute, and such development contributed to the growth of the library. By June 1937, its collection reached 322,369 volumes, 106,769 of which were Chinese books. This was comparable in size to the collection of the library of National Central University.

In July 1937, after the full-scale Anti-Japanese War broke out, all institutions and schools in Nanjing were ordered to move to the interior. The Nantional Central University managed to move most of its books and equipment due to some early preparation, but it still suffered loss and damage along the long journey during the war. After the school was relocated in Chongqing, it tried to replenish its library collection, and by 1944, it had a total of 121,679 Chinese books. Nanking University, in contrast, had to move in a hurry because it had had the illusion of staying out of the war because of its church connections. As a result, it only moved out one tenth of its library collection. The rest of the books were left behind on Nanjing Campus, were taken by the Japanese-backed puppet “Central University” and have been completely lost since then. The library tried hard to rebuild its collection after the school’s relocation in Chengdu, but this proved difficult during the wartime. By 1943, it only had a total of 16,368 Chinese books.

In 1949, the National Central University was renamed Nanjing University, and with the 1952 restructuring of colleges and universities, Nanking University’s books of arts and sciences merged into Nanjing University’s library. The new library had a collection of 730,000 books.

In the history of Nanjing University Library, many well-known library science scholars served as its chief librarians such as Liu Guojun, Li Xiaoyuan, Shi Yanyong and master of Chinese culture Hu Xiaoshi.

In the early 1980s, the new library with an area of 19,500 square meters was built up. In June 2001, the library was extended to 22,100 square meters to mark the university’s centennial anniversary.

In 1994, a branch library was established on Pukou Campus, and by 2007, its collections reached 340,000. In May 2007, Siyuan Library, the branch library on Pukou with an area of 30,500 square meters, was completed and put to use.  By December 2007, the libraries on Pukou Campus (including Siyuan) had 20 reading rooms or 3,000 seats and their total area was near 50,000 square meters, with a staff of over 130.




In September 2009, a new library on Xianlin Campus was opened to use. It makes a landmark of the campus since it is seated at the heart of a campus nestling beside hills and lakes and it faces the campus’ main entrance. With an area of 51,000 square meters, it has five floors, each covering about 10,000 square meters. Besides, the library has three service centers and accommodate 3,300 seats. The reception desk is on the second floor, and the students can freely move about and find places to sit down. The library has 45 seminar rooms and three music studios available for readers. It has space for future development and provides modern, multi-functional user-friendly services.


Valuable Collections

The ancient, thread-bound books of Nanjing University mainly came from the collections of National Central University, Nanking University and the Chinese Cultural Research Institute of Nanking University. The university currently has over 380,000 such books, over 30,000 of which are rare books in about 3,000 kinds. These valuable collections are extensive in content, especially in regional annals from the Ming and Qing dynasties. They are our cultural heritage saved only after generations of the university’s teachers and students went through tremendous hardship. They have played a vital role in the century-old academic development of the university.

A Glance of Ancient Books Cherished in the Library


Another source of the university’s ancient classics is the donation by professors. Both National Central University and Nanking University were prestigious, and many of their professors had their private collections. They dedicated not only their lifetime to education but also their collections to the school library. Professors Chen Zhongfan, Hu Xiaoshi, Wang Lijiang, Li Xiaoyuan, Luo Genze, Miu Fenglin, Ni Zesun, Zhu Ouyang, Zhong Tai, Huang Yuyu, Chen Qianfan and others donated many books, including rare books from ancient times. They made important contributions to the growth of Nanjing University Library.


Electronic Resources

Nanjing University Library provides and maintains a great variety of Chinese databases of academic books and journals such as Chain Digital Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), VIP Journal Database of Chinese Science and Technology, Service Platform of Wanfang Database, and Duxiu Academic Search. It also has high-quality academic literature and books databases published by top publishing houses in the world such as Elsevier, Springer and Wiley.

The library maintains a collection of approximately 60,000 electronic full-text journals in Chinese and foreign languages and 3.6 million e-books in Chinese and foreign languages. The abundant e-resources underpin the study and research of teachers and students. 

By swimming in the waters of e-resources, you nurture yourself in knowledge and the wisdom of sages, explore the mysteries of science and technology, and grow into better scholars.





Library of Institute for International Students

Locating on the 4th floor of Zeng Xianzi Building, the library of Institute for International Students offers students a first-rank borrowing and reading atmosphere, and rich materials for Chinese studying, teaching and researching.


Open hours

Mon.---Fri. 8:30-11:30 a.m.   2:00-5:00 p.m. (Closed on weekends)


Both of Nanjing University Library and the library of Institute for International Students are open to international students, who can borrow books with student cards.


University Library Hours


Gulou  branch library




Service Time

Liberal Arts Reading Room

the 3rd


Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

Science Reading Room

the 4th


Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

Periodicals Reading Room

the 2nd


Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

E-Reading Room

the 4th


Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

Sample Books Reading Room

the 4th


Monday-Friday 8:00-12:00, 14:00-17:30

Inter-Library Loan, Document Delivery

the 1st


Monday-Friday 8:00-11:30, 14:00-17:30

Consultation and Document Handling

the 1st

the Lobby

Monday-Friday 8:00-11:30, 14:00-17:30

Copy Room

the 1st


Monday-Friday 8:00-11:30, 14:00-17:30



Xianlin branch library



Opening Hours

General Books Reading Room

A、B、C Sections in the 3rd floor

Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

Periodicals Reading Room

A,B   Sections in the 2nd floor

Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

Service Desk

C Section in the 2nd floor

Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

Information Sharing Lobby

C Section in the 2nd floor

Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00

Reading Room of Literature from (of) Hong Kong and Taiwan and the Republic of China(1912-1949)

A Section in the 4th floor

Monday-Friday 9:00 - 16:00 

Foreign-Language Books Reading Room

B Section in the 4th floor

Monday-Friday 8:00 - 22:00 

Arts Collection Reading Room

C Section in the 5th floor

Monday-Friday 9:00 - 16:00 

Ancient Books Reading Room

C Section in the 4th floor

Monday-Friday 9:00 - 16:00 

E-Reading Room

B Section in the 5th floor

Monday-Sunday 8:00 - 22:00


Reference Service

Xianlin Campus: Room C 205  Tel.:89683242

Gulou Campus: Room 102  Tel.:83593242




Inter-Library Loan and Document Delivery

Inter-Library Loan means that if you want books or journals that are not kept at Nanjing University Library, whether in electronic or print form, you can borrow them from other libraries through the help of our librarians. For this service, you need to apply individually at a cost of 5 yuan each.

The procedures of application are as follows

a. If this is the first time you use this system, please register first on the website. You may also register by clicking on “Inter-Library Loan” on the library’s homepage.

b. Login by filling in your ID number and password. That is, use your Campus Card to enter the Inter-Library Loan system.

c. Confirm your application, with your valid ID, at Rm 103, Gulou Library, or Rm C201-202, Xianlin Library. Then, wait online for the notice of opening.

d. Submit the online-application for inter-library loan.Use your registered information to login in the system and click “submit application” on the menu of “Application Management.”


Introduction to CASHL

China Academic Social Sciences and Humanities Library (CASHL) is under the leadership of the Ministry of Education. By the principle of “co-construction, co-knowledge- sharing,” CASHL provides the literature needed in university teaching and research. As the only collection and service center of social science literature, CASHL is inspired to become a national resource platform of philosophy and social sciences.


Types of literature: papers from humanities and social science journals from abroad that have been collected by centers of CASHL

Target users: graduate students registered in Nanjing University, teachers and researchers

Method of service: Readers register on CASHL website, bring their library card to confirm the registration at Room 102 of the library, and then complete the follow-up procedures on CASHL website. The literature needed will be sent by e-mail.

Service time: Applications can be processed throughout the year except for holidays and winter and summer vacations.

Service charge: the university library provides each reader with a quota of subsidy. Readers may renew their accounts at Room 102 if they exceed their quotas.


Notice to readers:

a. You must fill in your department name and your real name during the registration.

b. Login name and password should be saved personally.

c. The library card and student ID card should be checked when affirming registered information.

d. Please fill in personal e-mail address correctly because the CASHL service is directly sent to readers by e-mail.

e. Personal use only.

f. Objects out of service: Literature collected in the library is excluded.