Southeast University Library is one of the oldest university libraries in China. Its predecessor was the School Library Sanjiang Normal College, which was built in 1902. In 1923, when the National Southeast University was founded, the library was independently built as the Mengfang Library of National Southeast University. This building is known as one of the greatest works of Chinese library architecture in the early 20th century. For more than one hundred years, the library has undergone several historical phases of developmet including the “Library and Instruments Department” of the Nanjing Higher Normal School, the Mengfang Library of National Southeast University, the National Central University Library, and the Nanjing Institute of Technology Library. In 1988, the library was renamed Southeast University Library. In April 2000, Nanjing Railway Medical College and other institutions merged with Southeast University. In March 2007, the library of Jiulonghu Campus was completed. For the moment, the Southeast University Library has formed a library system includes the Mochtar Riady Library of Jiulonghu Campus and 2 branch libraries, the branch library of Sipailou Campus and the branch library of Dingjiaqiao Campus. The library has a reasonable layout and complete functions.
The Southeast University Library has an overall floor area of 66,900 square meters and 4,914 seats. As of December 31, 2018, the cumulative physical collection have been 4,365,100 volumes. There were also 4,134 Chinese and foreign language current periodicals, 131 Chinese and foreign language databases, including 2 million e-books, 63,600 e-periodicals, 9 million e-dissertations and 121,500 hours of audio and video resources. Gradually, it has developed the collection feature that supports the university's multiplex subject development. All campuses shared the same opening schedule. The opening time is up to 98 hours per week. The main reading room opens from 8am to 10pm. The library serves more than 2 million visitors per year. The public reading area of the library provides readers with network connection port and computer terminal for inquiries. The public area of Mochtar Riady Library provides the wireless network access. Readers can easily access the collection information and use various professional databases. The library provides network information services 24 hours a day. All staff, faculty and students can freely access various database resources or make reservations and renew books on their own through any client on the campus network.
The library consists of nine departments including the administration office, the planning and promotion department, the special collection preservation and research department, the circulation department, the subject service department, the resource development department, the technical support department, the library of the Sipailou campus and the library of the Dingjiaqiao campus. The library has 120 employees including 4 senior professional titles, 14 sub-senior professional titles, 54 mid-level grade titles. The members of library staff hold the following academic degrees: 7 doctors, 59 masters and 25 bachelors (including dual degree). With the tenet of “Reader Oriented, Service First”, all librarians strive to provide readers with a civilized, orderly, comfortable and open environment for learning and information use; and guarantee the “Double First-rate” construction of Southeast University with a stable literature information service.
The Ministry of Education has a “Novelty Search Site of the Ministry of Education” and a “Foreign Teaching Materials Center of the Ministry of Education” at the Southeast University Library. The Novelty Search Site provides scientific and technical achievements appraisal, award evaluation and science-technology items novelty search for users inside and outside the school. The Foreign Teaching Materials Center focuses on the collection of foreign textbooks for Civil and Construction Engineering and Mechanics. As a CALIS (China Higher Education Literature Protection System) member library and JALIS (Jiangsu Provincial Higher Education Literature Guarantee System) member library, the Southeast University Library also shoulders the responsibility of inter-library cooperation and construction. JALIS has set up a "Jiangsu Provincial University Engineering Documentation Center" in the Southeast University Library to undertake the construction of engineering and technical literature resources. The Institute for Information Science of Southeast University, which is located in the library, is responsible for teaching the master's degree in library science and providing various types of training.
The Southeast University Library is constantly advancing toward the goal of “building an international influential, China’s top-ranking university library with high research level”.