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About the Collection


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library started collecting Chinese language materials as early as in the 1920s. The collection has grown steadily ever since with few large acquisitions that highlights the efforts and strength of the collection. In 1934, the  Chinese Alumni Association of University of Illinois donated a complete set of Si bu cong kan [四部叢刊] with total of 2,112 volumes. This 1929 reproduction of Chinese ancient texts by the Commercial Press [上海商務印書館] gave the collection an early booster and was the largest Chinese book acquisition prior to the establishment of the Asian Library, previously known as the Far Eastern Library.

The focus of the collection has been directed by the need and demand of faculties and students on the campus and the trends of the Chinese studies in North America. In supporting the teaching and research of the University campus, the collection has become home for Chinese publications of all formats, including print monographs with microfilms; and a good number of videocassettes and CDS. These are supported by additional secondary materials in Western languages throughout the University Library system. The strength of the Chinese collection lies in the areas of humanities and social sciences with substantial holdings in language, literature, history, anthropology, philosophy, religion, especially Buddhism, arts, politics, and economics.

Since 2003, the Chinese collection has expanded to include electronic resources. We are currently subscribing to three series of the China Academic Journal Database (CAJ), providing online access to nearly 2,400 academic journals published in China, covering from 1994, with full-text articles. The addition greatly enhances our ability to service the information needs of China scholars, researchers, and students.

Asian Rare Book Collection: Collection Overview