The Library of the Delhi School of Economics Society (DSE), better known as the Ratan Tata Library (RTL) began in 1949. In the last more than fifty years, it has not only become a partial depository of publications of the United Nations and several other International Organisations (30,000 such publications are available) but has also developed a phenomenal collection of 40,000 documents of the Central and State Governments,including Reports of various Committees and Commissions. The RTL is not confined to Economics. Since the 1960s, Departments of Sociology, Geography and Commerce, too, have become its integral components.
The Delhi School of Economics Society (DSE) received a benefaction of Rs One Lakh from the Ratan Tata Trust for its Library. That is how the name Ratan Tata Library of Delhi School of Economics came to stay. Subsequently in 1989, the Ratan Tata Trust gave a grant of Rs. 2 Lakhs to meet partly the cost of adding an annexe to the Library building which was completed in 1986 at a cost of Rs. 6 Lakhs. The addition of the new block enabled the library to consolidate the holdings of periodicals. The ground floor, incl. mezannine houses the back files of periodicals and in the first floor current issues of periodicals are kept and displayed. This floor also serves as an exclusive reading room for current periodicals and serials.
With a modest beginning in 1949, very valuable additions to the collection of the RTL were made by Dr. V.K.R.V. Raos personal efforts. He secured gifts of books and back numbers of periodicals from the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; the Institute of Pacific Relations, New York; the New School of Social Research, New York; the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London; the British Library of Political and Economic Sciences, London; and the National Book Centre, London. A grant of two thousand dollars from the state Department of United States was used for the purchase of books from that country. This was the nucleus around which the Ratan Tata Library has grown. Prof.B. N. Ganguli who later became Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi (1967-1969) was the first one to look after the RTL during its formative years (Dharma Kumar & Dilip Mookherjee: D. School. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995. p 14-15). The RTL is one of the best libraries in Social Sciences in the country considering the collections it has.
The Ratan Tata Library became a part of the University Library in 1957, when the Delhi School of Economics ceased to be an autonomous institution and its management was taken over by the University of Delhi. The Ratan Tata Library now serves post-graduate students, research scholars and faculty members of the University and its affiliated Colleges in the above mentioned disciplines.
Besides the regular members, scholars from India and abroad visit the Library for varying periods and make use of its valuable resources. The total collection of the library, at present, is about 3.25 Lakhs, including books, bound volumes of periodicals, government reports, documents of international organizations and electronic databases.
The Library has been designated as a depository of publications brought out by the United Nations and International Organizations like FAO, ILO, IMF, IBRD, GATT etc. The Library has also exchange agreement with about 70 institutions all over the world and receives publications in exchange of Indian Economic Review & Occasional Papers (Economics).
In addition to the Ratan Tata Library, the books and periodicals resources of various libraries situated in and outside Delhi are made available to the members of the RTL through DELNET.