Located in campus of the Royal Palace of Thanjavur, it is one of the oldest libraries in World. The library has exceptional collection of books, manuscripts, paintings and other valuable items. This library was started sometime between 1535 - 1675 AD by the Nayak Kings of Thanjavur. From 1875 the Maratha rulers further developed this library until 1855.
Most notable among the Maratha Kings was Serfoji II. He took special interest in the enrichment of the Library. He employed many learned people to collect vast number of works from all renowned Centers of learning. As a tribute to the Great Collector Serfoji, the Library has been named after him.
The library has a rare collection of palm leaf, and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages. Over 80% of its manuscripts are in Sanskrit. The manuscripts on palm leaves are very unique. There are manuscripts covering a wide area of literature, music and medicine. Some of the manuscripts are from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
A Museum is located in the Library building and one can see some of these items on display. This Museum is small but organized into sections highlighting ancient manuscripts, printed copies of the original drawings, paintings.