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Information about Donations

Each year the University of Maryland Libraries adds thousands of gift items to the collections of the seven libraries on campus. Gifts provide invaluable resources for students, faculty, alumni and friends who depend upon the University Libraries for teaching, study and research. Gifts help strengthen holdings and replace lost and damaged books. Many of the University Libraries' most treasured, rare and valuable resources were donated by friends and colleagues, such as the Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA), the National Public Broadcasting Archives and the Katherine Anne Porter Collection, within the collections of Archives and Manuscripts.

The University Libraries appreciate and encourage the donation of library resources which strengthen the collections and support the University's programs. Gifts cover vast ranges of subjects and include materials in all formats: books, archival materials, personal papers and manuscripts, back runs of scholarly periodicals, sound recordings, scores, films, videotapes, microforms , photographs, architectural drawings, optical discs and other machine-readable material. Gifts-in-kind represent valuable additions that might otherwise be impossible to obtain through regular or special library funding. Donors of library materials are among our most valued supporters.

Note: The following information pertains to gifts that will be considered for the General Collections. Donors of rare and/or specialized materials will be directed to a special collection's archivist or librarian.

Gifts-in-Kind Policy

University of Maryland Libraries
Special Collections and Collection Management Division

Acceptance of Gifts to the Libraries

Gifts to the collections of the University Libraries constitute an important and ongoing source of materials that support the teaching and research programs of the University. The donation of books, audio-visual media, archives, manuscripts and a diverse variety of other items in many formats have served as the foundation of some of our major circulating and special collections. In other instances these gifts have significantly enhanced existing purchased holdings and already established collections.

Owing to the large volume of materials received in the past and the need to exercise the highest selectivity in accepting materials most relevant to campus academic needs, we provide the following general guidelines for individuals interested in donating materials to the University Libraries. We reserve the right to accept or decline materials based on these and other criteria that serve the best interests of the University and the library collections.

Every effort is made to accept only items appropriate to be added to the library collections. Items not added may be sold, exchanged with other libraries, or discarded at the discretion of the University Libraries.

Prospective donors of large collections or personal libraries of an academic or research nature should provide a list of items available in advance. Ongoing space constraints do not permit us to keep whole gift collections intact as physically separate or discrete collections within a publicly accessible stack area. The University Libraries also encourage monetary assistance to cover the costs of processing larger collections that are selected for addition. Timely processing and handling of materials requiring special treatment are especially dependent on additional resources.

Desirable Donations:

  • Current academic or scholarly publications, especially those that have appeared within the past three years, in disciplines supported by the curriculum or research of the University
  • Good condition copies of older publications that are not currently held and serve to fill in notable gaps in historic collections. Materials in good condition are clean, with durable bindings, and do not contain loose, brittle, stained, marked, or discolored pages
  • Specialized research materials, including scientific and technical reports
  • Foreign language publications in areas collected by the University Libraries, primarily Western European languages, Slavic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Farsi
  • One-of-a-kind or rare books, special editions of established works, and other materials that contribute to the subject strengths within special collections, such as university history, Marylandia, historic preservation, and broadcasting
  • Primary source material (e.g., manuscripts and archives)

Out of Scope and Unacceptable Donations:

As a result of the ever increasing costs associated with the short-term and long-term storage of gifts and the associated resources required to sort, review, process, preserve, and maintain materials, the Libraries cannot accept all in-kind donations. The following represent categories of materials that fall outside the collecting scope of the University Libraries:

  • Materials that are not relevant to campus instructional and research programs and collecting areas of the University Libraries (e.g., medicine, law, and nursing)
  • Textbooks
  • Popular trade/mass market paperbacks
  • Popular magazines (e.g., Newsweek, National Geographic)
  • Scattered or single issues of journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, etc.
  • Materials in poor condition, including defaced text. Items that show evidence of mold, mildew, pests, significant embrittlement, or disrepair are routinely declined
  • Titles already owned, including journal runs, newspaper files, etc. (unless replacement or additional copies are needed or the copy is a different or special edition that is useful to add)
  • Outdated, superseded titles (e.g., computer manuals)
  • Loose or miscellaneous materials that do not meet the categories listed under desirable donations
  • Bulk collections of materials (collections with a substantial proportion of undesirable materials). Typically these are large collections or personal libraries of general reading titles with marginal or no academic value. Where textbooks and other academic materials are also included, these usually are already more than sufficiently represented in the collections of the University Libraries.

Staff members should refer ALL potential donations to the Gifts-in-Kind Coordinator. This staff member acts on behalf of the Dean of Libraries in recommending to the Board of Regents the acceptance of specific gifts. Gifts are expected to supplement existing collections in support of the University's teaching and research programs as well as to provide the University Libraries with special materials in which there is a scholarly interest. To be accepted, all gifts must fall within the guidelines of the University Libraries' policies pertaining to gifts. In short, all in-kind gifts must be initially reviewed and discussed with the Gifts-in-Kind Coordinator.

Once a gift is accepted, it becomes the property of the University of Maryland Libraries. Unless formally agreed upon in a deed of gift between the donor and the University Libraries, the University Libraries may add gift materials to its collections, or use them for sale or exchange.

How to Make a Donation

Gifts to the University Libraries can be donated by contacting the Gifts-in-Kind Coordinator via email at jlove1@umd.edu or phone on (301) 405-9048. Please see the University Libraries home page under "Library Staff" for more information.

Appraisal of a Gift

By law, the University Libraries may not provide appraisals or valuations of gifts to donors or potential donors. Donors who wish to have an appraisal done, must contact and secure an independent appraiser. The University Libraries can provide donors with a list of appraisers in their area.

Acknowledgment of a Gift

Gifts to the University Libraries will be acknowledged in writing and reported to the Board of Regents.

Tax Deductions

Usually a gift of books or other material will qualify as a deduction for income tax purposes. The responsibility for establishing the fair market value of an item lies with the donor.

Donors may wish to refer to the IRS Department of the Treasury publication, "Determining the Value of Donated Property (pdf)," Publication 561 in the IRS Forms and Publications series.

Although the University Libraries do not purport to give tax advice, generally speaking, a donor seeking to claim a deduction for a gift (s) valued at $500 or more in one calendar year must file an IRS Form 8283. For gifts valued at $5,000 or more, an appraiser must complete the appropriate section of the form.

If you think it is necessary to obtain an appraisal, you must pay for it. An appraisal fee qualifies as a miscellaneous deduction for tax purposes. You may wish to consult your personal attorney or tax advisor for further information and advice.

Delivery of Donated Material

With advance notice to and approval by the Gifts-in-Kind Office, we are happy to receive donations of materials. Please call (301) 405-9125 to make arrangements for the delivery. All materials should be boxed with the donor's name and address included inside the box. This information is necessary for purposes of acknowledgment.