Gift Policy

The Department of Special Collections and University Archive will frequently be given materials, books, manuscripts, photographs, and so on. Traditionally only the Librarians have been authorized to accept gifts in kind. At this time, specific members of the curatorial staff may accept gifts for the department, using the collection policy as a guide, or in consultation with faculty or others should that be appropriate.

There are four basic forms of donation that are likely to occur – financial, standard gift, “over the transom” donation, and archival transfer.

  • We do not accept financial gifts in this office.  Those must be sent through the Development Officer, Amy Gerald.
  • A standard gift is one that we have agreed to take, and a signed deed of gift has been generated. The majority of our gifts are of this nature, and therefore are assumed to meet our Collection Development scheme.
  • An “over the transom” gift is one that has just shown up unexpectedly, through the mail, anonymously dropped off. Many of our best and favorite acquisitions have been of this unexpected nature. However, it should be noted that we are under no obligation to retain these sorts of gift. If an “over the transom” gift does not meet our needs, we shall make an effort to return it, or to find it an appropriate new home. Failing that it may be discarded.
  • An Archival transfer is sent to us from elsewhere in the University System to be housed in University Archives. These will generally be accepted and sent to archives. There will be no acknowledgement of this transfer unless one has been requested.

What do we do with a gift:

The following procedures are to be followed in each case:

  1. Assessment. Examine the materials. Does it contain anything we actually want? This is the trickiest part of this process because of its subjectivity. If the donation does not have anything that we need, it should be declined.
  2. A Deed of gift is the principle difference between a standard gift and the others. A basic description of the materials should be included as well as any restrictions and stipulations that the Donor wants to include. Negotiation is acceptable if the restrictions are unacceptable, as is declining the gift. Note that the deed of gift can only be signed by the Librarian of Special Collections and above in the Hierarchy. A copy of the deed of gift and ancillary documentation then go into a hardcopy file. A digital copy will be attached to the electronic Accession Record.
  3. Archive records. A few items come to Archives from individuals. They should be handled like other gifts. Most records are transferred from University offices. In general we prefer to review records before they are moved; when this is not possible (e.g., the Librarian is away for an extended time) records may be brought to the Department before review.
  4. Art, artifacts, photographs and assorted ephemera. These materials result more frequently from gift than purchase. They are handled as any other gift.