The Manuscript Section was in existence right from the inception of the University. In 1990, the Manuscript Library became a full-fledged unit of the University of Calcutta under the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic). The Library has a collection of more than 42,000 manuscripts including quite a few on palm leaves, including 20,000 in Sanskrit, 12,000 in Tibetan and Bengali and also several Persian and Arabic manuscripts. They are in different languages such as Sanskrit, Tibetan, Bangla, Oriya, Maithili, Pali, Arabic and Persian, and in scripts like Bengali, Oriya, Gaudi, Newari, Malayalam and Maithili. Some manuscripts are wrought in gold and silver lettering.
The Manuscript Resource Centre (MRC) at the University of Calcutta was started in August 2003. The MRC has conducted the survey in twenty-nine Government and Government-sponsored libraries, seven institutional libraries, thirteen private libraries and fifteen personal collections in West Bengal . The MRC has documented 21,000 manuscripts covering thirteen districts of West Bengal so far and also prepared a list of manuscripts for digitisation. It has also taken initiative in providing conservation support to several collections of manuscripts through applying herbal methods for conservation of manuscripts at the time of documentation. 20,000 manuscripts codices were fed in to e-granthavali database. Fifteen awareness campaigns have been held, with more than fifteen hundred people participated in the programme.