Gifts to libraries


The summary of the practices with regard to gifts is this: the donor is responsible for his own appraisal, and the library is free to use donations as appropriate, unless the donor has put restrictions on them; such restrictions are accepted with the gift--if the restrictions are untenable, then the gift should be declined. Acceptance of gifts of library materials should be consistent with your collection development policy. See IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property for basic, but important, information.

Library Gift Policies

Sample Gift Acceptance Policy - This sample gift acceptance policy for a library foundation board was created in conjunction with the webcourse 'WebJunction's Fundraising for Libraries,' or it can be used for your own foundation board.

For more library foundation gift acceptance policies, see these results of an Advanced Google Search for a library foundation gift policy.


Barker, Joseph W. "Gifts and Exchanges." In Technical Services Today and Tomorrow. Ed. Michael Gorman. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1990, pp. 23-37. Covers the organizational and workflow aspects to gift and exchange work.

Carrico, Steven. "Gifts and Exchanges." In Understanding the Business of Acquisitions, edited by Karen A. Schmidt. 2nd ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 1998. p. 205-223. Most extensive bibliography.

Carrico, Steven and Jason Fleming and Betsy Simpson. "Virtual Bookplates: Enhancing Donor Recognition and Library Development." College and Research Libraries News, September 2010, p. 419-423.

Cooper, Tom. "Getting the Most from Donations". Public Libraries, March/April 2010, p. 31-36. NOTE: Article freely available at

Hoffmann, Frank W. and Richard J. Wood. "Gifts" in Library Collection Development Policies: School Libraries and Learning Resource Centers. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2007, p. 54-57. Includes sample policies.

Lane, Alfred H. Gifts and Exchange Manual. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1980. 121p. A classic, though the set of appendices may include documents withdrawn or superseded.

Lynden, F. C. "Fund-raising Tips." Library Acquisitions: Practice & Theory 15 (1991):387-91. Summarizes a variety of gift donation programs.

Roberts, Ann. Crash Course in Library Gift Programs: the Reluctant Curator's Guide to Caring for Archives, Books, and Artifacts in a Library Setting. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2007. Mostly covers what to do after the library has the gifts.

White, Thomas C., III, J. Michael Morgan, and Gus A. Gordon. "Gifts--The Answer to a Problem." In Legal and Ethical Issues in Acquisitions, Katina Strauch, and Bruce Strauch, editors. New York: Haworth Press, 1990. References the tax implications, or at least those in force in 1990.

Wilkinson, Frances C. and Linda K. Lewis. "Gifts and Exchange Programs." In The Complete Guide to Acquisitions Management. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2003. p.175-188. Basic summary of the issues.