THE WIDELY ACCLAIMED CENTER FOR CHINESE STUDIES LIBRARY (CCSL) originated in the late 1950's from an off-campus reading room at the University of California, Berkeley. Over the years it has rapidly grown into a full research library and an important part of the Chinese studies community on the West Coast. Its holdings consist of 60,000 volumes of books, 500 current periodical titles, 6,000 volumes of local gazetteers, and over 1,000 film titles on videotapes and discs. Its collection consists of approximately 85% Chinese-language and 15% English-language materials. With the collection focused primarily on post-1949 Chinese society, politics and government, economics, military, and law, the library houses one of America's premier research collections on contemporary China.

CCSL, moreover, carries a collection of around 10,000 volumes of reminiscences on local history and culture. It is the largest collection outside the People's Republic of China. Mainly published at the county and city levels, the materials—known as the wenshi ziliao—offer a unique perspective into China's recent past, often through first-person narratives.

CCSL is also known for the academic support it provides for the teaching and research programs on Chinese Overseas. Its collection substantially documents the politics and culture of both Chinese Overseas outside China and those who have gone back to reside permanently in China.

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