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Policies for Donors of Library Materials

Although Wallace Library’s preferred collection format has become increasingly electronic, Wallace Library does welcome donations of print books and other library materials as a valuable way to develop its resources. All gifts entail initial expenses to the library to review, catalog, and process, as well as continuing expenses to house and maintain materials that have been added to the collection. Therefore, the library staff must be selective in accepting gifts to ensure donated materials support the library’s goals for collection development - enhancing our support of the Institute’s teaching and research needs. The following information explains the library’s policies and procedures concerning donations of library materials to its regular collections. The Wallace Library staff is happy to discuss these guidelines with potential donors and invites inquiries about gifts to the collections. For donations to our rare and special collections, the donor should contact the Cary Curator or RIT Archivist directly as guidelines may vary.

Sources of Donations

Subject to the conditions described below, Wallace Library will accept gifts of library materials appropriate to its collections from any donor, including current and former RIT students, faculty, and staff and any other individuals and organizations interested in the library’s collections and services.

Review and Acceptance of Donations

The subject librarian(s) whose areas of responsibility are represented in the potential donation will review the material preferably from a description or itemized inventory supplied by the donor or by examining the collection itself. The subject librarian(s) and, when appropriate, the Senior Manager of Research and Instruction Services and the Director of RIT Libraries, will determine whether the content, format, physical condition, and size of the gift are suitable for addition to the Wallace Library collection. It should be noted that the library will not accept materials which have been improperly stored and are excessively dirty, moldy or have a permeating odor in order to prevent the contamination of existing collections.

The donor will be notified after the review whether or not the library will accept the gift. If the gift is not accepted, the subject librarian(s) may suggest other potential collections for the donation.

Transportation of Donations to the Library

Donors are encouraged to consider the costs of transporting their gifts to the library as part of their donations. The library staff will work with the donor to make transportation arrangements convenient to both parties. Gifts may be sent to the library through the U.S. Postal Service or other delivery services. Both United Parcel Service and Federal Express offer home pick-up services, but materials must be packed and weighed by the sender. Contact UPS at 800-742-5877 or www.ups.com and Federal Express at 800- 463-3339 or www.fedex.com to arrange for pick-ups anywhere in the Western New York area and for more information about packing requirements, charges, etc. If the donor wishes to transport the gift him/herself, library staff will assist with unloading and moving materials into the library building. Any questions may be directed to the Manager of Acquisitions/Serials/IDS at 585-475-7283.

Retention of Donations

Although the library staff makes every effort to accept only materials appropriate to the Wallace Library collections, it does not guarantee that all gift items will be added to the collections. Inappropriate titles or duplicates of items already in the library collections may be sold, traded for other materials through library exchange programs, given away to other libraries, distributed to RIT students/faculty/staff, or discarded.

The library does not guarantee that gifts which are added to the collection will be kept in perpetuity. The Wallace Library collections are weeded regularly based on the guidelines of the library’s collection development policy statement. All items in the library collections are subject to the same criteria for retention.

Acknowledgement of Donations

The donor will receive a letter acknowledging his/her gift within thirty days of its receipt by the library. If the donor makes a series of contributions to the library collection over a period of time, the library staff will prepare annual summary of the year’s gifts instead of individual letters of acknowledgement for each gift. If the gift is received in December, every effort will be made to acknowledge the gift before December 31. If this deadline cannot be met, the letter of acknowledgement will cite the day the donation was received by the library.

If the donor requires itemization of the gift, the inventory must be supplied by the donor. If itemization is not required, a general description of the content, format, and extent (number of items) of the gift will be provided in the letter of acknowledgement.

A book plate acknowledging the donor will be affixed to the inside front cover or flyleaf of all gift books and bound volumes of periodicals retained for the collection.

Valuation of Donations

The donor bears full responsibility for determining the value of the gift. The Wallace Library staff will not provide appraisals of gifts to the collection, as Internal Revenue Code, Section 2512(c), “Valuation of Gifts” precludes the recipient from evaluating a gift. The donor should consult with his/her tax preparer for more information regarding “Noncash Charitable Contributions”. The library will not pay for outside appraisers to evaluate gifts to the collection.

The value of books is usually determined by selecting comparable sales and adjusting the prices according to the differences between the comparable sales and the item being evaluated. The most economical way for a donor to appraise a book donation is to research the title for sale via an Internet used book seller site such as Amazon.com or Abebooks.com. An average price may be derived from these sites dependent upon the condition of the donated volume.

Additional information can be found at http://www.rbms.info/yob.shtml

Placement and Processing of Donations

All gifts accepted for the library will be integrated into existing collections. The location of gifts within the collections will be determined by the subject librarian(s) based on the format, physical condition, content, and value of the materials.

Gifts will be processed (cataloged, bound (if necessary), and labeled) as the workflow of the library’s Acquisitions Department and Metadata Services Department permit. It may be necessary to store large gifts until the staff time and other departmental resources are available for processing.


Sheila Smokey, Manager, Acquisitions/Serials/IDS,
scswml@rit.edu, 585-475-7283

Margaret Bartlett, Senior Manager, Research and Instruction Services,
mbbwml@rit.edu, 585-475-2559

Steven Galbraith, Curator of the Cary Library,
skgtwc@rit.edu, 585-475-3961

Rebecca Simmons, RIT Archivist,
raswml@rit.edu, 585-475-2557

Marcia Trauernicht, Director of RIT Libraries,
mstwml@rit.edu, 585-475-7292

rev. April 2017

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