The East Asian Library began with a collection of rare materials acquired from China in the 1930's. This special collection is now known as the Mu Collection. More Chinese, Japanese and Korean materials were added later. The library now has 650,000 volumes. It is a major research collection on East Asian studies in North America.
On July 11, 1991, the East Asian Library was named Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library to recognize the especially significant contribution and dedicated support of Dr. Cheng for the improvement and expansion of the library.