The Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library consists of over 600,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan materials. It is a major research collection on East Asian studies in North America.
The East Asian Library began with a special collection of rare materials acquired from China in the 1930's, now referred to as the Mu Collection.
The collection has continued to grow with subsequent additions of Japanese, Korean and Tibetan materials.
Since 2013, an international collaboration between the University of Toronto and Columbia University’s research libraries have been strengthening existing expertise in Tibetan collection services at both universities to increase the availability of Tibetan resources to a wider community of scholars in both Canada and the United States.
In 1979, the Korean Collection was established with a grant from the Korean Research Foundation in Seoul, Korea. As Korean programs at the University expanded, the collection was also enlarged. In the late 1980s, the Foundation for the Support of Korean Studies at the University of Toronto pledged a total of $100,000 to assist the library in a more active acquisition of Korean research materials.
In 1961, the foundation for the Japanese collection was laid with the help of a $5,000 grant from the Canada Council. The Donner Canadian Foundation also donated $20,000 for the further development and strengthening of the Japanese collection. Through the Dealers Selection Order system, the library was also able to acquire all new books published in Japan that were important to teaching and research at the University.