The Shanghai Library now has a collection of over 53 million items in Chinese and foreign languages, including such unique resources as rare books, letters and rubbings, celebrity manuscripts, genealogical records and local histories, Western rare books, sheet music, modern newspapers and periodicals, and patents and standards. The library has a total area of 127,000 square meters, with all kinds of open spaces, such as reading rooms, academic activity rooms, lecture halls and exhibition halls.
The historical documents constitute the special treasures of the library, including 100,000 manuscripts and letters, around 5400 local records dated before 1949, 18,000 titles of genealogical files (342 family names), over 8,000 copies of imperial test papers, 150,000 pieces of epigraphs and rubbings, and 1.7 million old books (25,000 titles amounting to 170,000 volumes are rare editions).
The Chinese Genealogy collection has over 12,000 titles and over 100,000 volumes of Chinese family pedigrees, covering 329 family names from 22 provinces. In addition, there is an extensive collection of ancient Chinese books consisting of over 1,700,000 volumes, among which 25,000 titles and 170,000 volumes are rare books, 2,256 titles and 13,526 volumes are classified as national-level collections. In addition, there are 5,400 titles and 90,000 volumes of local gazetteers and over 8,000 titles and 10,000 volumes Zhujuan from Qing Dynasty.
The Library provides an important Genealogy Searching Service for searching the genealogy collections including catalog retrieving and consulting by telephone or in writing.