Through an accumulation for more than a century, the library collects multidisciplinary and complementary literatures with strong superiority in the specialties of Traffic and Transportation Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Management Science and Engineering.
Southwest Jiaotong University Library has a long history in that its earliest collection--Yu Gong Zhui Zhi, was published in the 44th year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1705). Furthermore, it also collects precious literatures of Confucian classics, history, philosophy and belles-lettres, such as Qin Ding Gu Jin Tu Shu Ji Cheng, Zhou Li Shu Zhu, Si Bu Cong Shu, ect. In addition, the library also keeps bound volumes of periodicals since its founding, and some bound newspapers collected since Anti-Japanese War in 1937.
Gu Jin Tu Shu Ji Cheng (A Collection of Ancient and Modern Books), complied by Chen Menglei in the 45th year of Emperor Kangxi in Qing
Dynasty (1706) and revised afterwards by Jiang Xiting, is a significant collection of books known as Kangxi Encyclopedia. The copy treasured up in the library was lithographed in the 20th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1894). Actually, its editing work began in the 16th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1890) under the imperial order, and the series was printed after going through the whole process of proofreading, sorting out, and adding 24 volumes of Textual Research on the basis of the first edition – Wuhuangdian Printing Edition in copper letter board version. In the 34th year of the reign of Guangxu (1908), under Guangxu’s permission, a series of Qin Ding Gu Jin Tu Shu Ji Cheng was granted to Tangshan Railway and Mining College, the predecessor of Southwest Jiaotong University.
At the initial stage, the university taught mainly the advanced science and technology. Major courses, except those relating to the Chinese language (e.g. prose and ethics), were taught by foreign teachers in English with imported textbooks. This teaching tradition was carried on until 1948. Consequently, the early collections of the library were mainly original English books
Readers of the three campuses located in Chengdu and Emei can make use of 38 databases provided by the library. Those databases encompass full-text electronic journal articles on all the subjects of Southwest Jiaotong University in Chinese and western languages, conference papers, master and doctor dissertations, science and technology achievements, technical reports, comprehensive newspapers, e-book database, factual database, and full-text electronic journal articles of various engineers institute.