The Tribhuvan University Central Library (TUCL), which is today Nepal's largest library, was founded in 1959 AD alongside the university with the primary intention of assisting the university in achieving its goals. TUCL had a limited collection of only a few hundred books when it was founded. Since then, the collection has continued to develop, and it presently has about 410,000 volumes of papers, including books, bound journals, theses, audiobooks, and other materials.
TUCL is considered the largest library in the country. Philanthropists and bibliophiles alike have contributed to the growth of the library. The library is not only considered largest in terms of building/space but also in terms of its collection, visitors, clientele, technical manpower, and the number of library members.
TUCL is an academic library that was designed to assist the university's teaching, study, and research needs. However, Kirtipur has expanded its services outside the university's campus. TUCL offers memberships to the general public as well as foreigners residing in Nepal.
- ISBN National Agency: Considering the TUCL’s collection, manpower, and the variety of services being rendered to its clienteles, in January 2000, the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) Headquarters designated TUCL as the only National agency for Nepal for distributing ISBNs.
- UN Depository Library: Since 1964, TUCL has been entrusted to serve as the only depository library in Nepal for the publications of United Nations and her agencies, viz. ILO, IMF, UNESCO, UNICEF, etc.
- NeLIC databases: TUCL has also been subscribing to some prominent databases such as JSTOR and Project MUSE from the organization NeLIC (Nepal Library and Information Consortium). JSTOR provides thousands of peer-reviewed full-text articles of scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Similarly, Project MUSE provides access to an online database of peer-reviewed academic journals and electronic books on humanities and social science content.
- NepJOL database: Nepal Journals Online (NepJOL) is a database of peer-reviewed scholarly journals of Nepalese origin being hosted by TUCL itself.
- Nepal Theses database: TUCL has been maintaining Nepal Theses Database where all the Ph.D. theses and dissertations submitted to TUCL by Nepalese scholars at home and abroad are uploaded and are given access to use.
- TUCL Publications: TUCL does also publishes some useful documents from time to time. In addition to regular publications such as annual reports, brochures, and yearly compilation of periodicals’ lists, it has also published more than 3 dozen documents.
- CIP distribution: Like the Library of Congress and British Library, TUCL does also prepares CIP (Cataloguing -In-Publications) and is distributed to the books that are going to be published. It's usually done if only the authors or publishers approach TUCL’s technical section at the time of obtaining ISBNs for their books. (CIP is bibliographic information of the book in card catalog format printed on the backside of the title page).
- TU Archive and rare books collection: TUCL has maintained a section exclusively dedicated to preserving Tribhuvan University’s publications. In addition, TUCL has also been preserving the books that are deemed significant from the historical point of view. The library is planning to digitize all these documents in the future and give easy access to them online.
- Manuscripts collection: TU Central library has a collection of 731 old manuscripts. All these manuscripts have been digitized and the manuscripts have been preserved separately.
TU Central Library provides membership to teachers, students, research scholars, and administrative staff of Central Departments of T.U. Kirtipur. Similarly, it also provides membership to the permanent teachers of all other TU colleges in Kathmandu Valley. Any Nepalese citizen can be a private member of the Library. For non-Nepalese nationals, they should produce an official recommendation letter from their employer or a photocopy of their valid passport to be a member of the Library with a refundable deposit of Nepalese Rupees 3,000/-. For the Nepali nationals, the refundable deposit charge is Rs.1500 /-
There is also a provision of Temporary Membership. If an individual wants to use the Library resources for a few weeks only, s/he could be granted temporary membership. The temporary membership fee is NRs.100/- for a period of 15 days.
T.U. Central Library has maintained a hybrid type of catalog viz. traditional card catalog as well as machine-readable computer catalog i.e. OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue). The card catalogs have been filed alphabetically under the name of Authors, Titles, and Subjects. Computer catalog search can be done from the library’s computer search terminals placed at different sections of the library or can also be done remotely from home.