The predecessor of Xi'an Jiaotong University Library was the book collection building of Nanyang College founded in Shanghai in 1896. Hereafter, an independent library building was built and named the Library of Shanghai Industry Polytechnic College of Communications Ministry in August, 1919, and renamed Jiaotong University Library in 1921.

With the move of the University to Xi'an in 1956, the most of personnel and 90% of the collections of the library were moved from Shanghai to Xi'an. In 1959, the University was formally named Xi'an Jiaotong University by the State Council and then the library in Xi'an became Xi'an Jiaotong University Library.

The Library has two buildings with total 29,200 square meters of floor space built in July 1961 and 1991 respectively.

The library was named after Qian Xuesen, a name of an outstanding scientist worldwide, by the Propagation Department of Central Committee in May, 1995.

In April 2000, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an Medical University and Shaanxi Institute of Finance and Economics were merged and the three libraries of the Universities were combined as one unit with Qian Xuesen Library located on east campus of the university and the Medical Library and the Finace and Economics Library on the west. Now the floor space of the library is increased to 40,000 square meters and 3,300 seats provided.

Recently, the multidiscipline collection system which combined with natural science, engineering, management and liberal arts, with machinery, energy and power, electrics, electronics, information, materials, control and medicine, finance and economics as its main focus is formed in the library. The construction of electronic resources has been put on an important position by the library. It now has a collection of 3,910,000 volumes and items, 9885 newspapers and periodicals, more than 5214 current periodicals, 56 kinds of network database and 8 CD databases and more than 27,348 kinds of electronic journals, in which a third of the collection are in foreign language.

The library also possesses 14000 kinds of full text electronic journals. It pays more attention on collecting original version books and periodicals reflecting the advanced level of science and technology around the world. 15 kinds of world's distinguished journals that have history of more than hundred years are continuously collected from their start issues. Meanwhile, the library also holds a mass of technical reports, thesis and dissertations, conference references, technical standards, patents, video-audio and microfilm materials etc.

The INNOPAC integrated automaton system was installed in the Library in1998. With this system, the acquisition, cataloging, series management, circulation and OPAC of the library can be operated automatically. The Library's INNOPAC system is also connected to the campus-wide network, CERNET and Internet, and therefore users outside the university can access to the library resources through the Internet.

Conforming to the principle of resources sharing, the library offers readers inside and outside the university with multi-level services. In addition to the service for consulting and borrowing books and periodicals, the on-line international information search, searching through Internet, user's training, borrowing between libraries within the country, CD searching, and copying of periodicals and literatures, and transferring references are provided. A lecture of “references searching and its application” is also setup for undergraduates.

The library lays stress on the international academic exchange, and now the cooperation relation including exchanges of materials, books and publications has been established with 25 universities and academic communities in 9 countries and regions in the world.

The Academic Library & Information centre of CALIS (China Academic Library & Information System) for the northwest region and the Secretariat of library and information Committee of Shaanxi universities and colleges are emplaced in the Xi'an Jiaotong University Library.

The library is also responsible for the Foreign Textbooks Centre and the consultation work station for science and technology projects and achievements check which was established by the Education Minister in 1990 , oriented to the service for universities and colleges nationwide.