Policy on the Acceptance of Gifts

The University Libraries and Archives collections have been enriched by generous gifts of books and other materials from members of the University community and the community of Emporia.  The librarians welcome opportunities to evaluate potential gifts of books, periodicals, and other materials.  Such gifts can enhance the library's collections in a variety of ways including providing access to worthwhile materials and expanding the library's holdings of a periodical title.  The University Libraries and Archives generally try to accept gifts that will enhance our research and special collections, while avoiding the addition of duplicate materials.  In order to be accepted for review, the materials offered must be consistent with and supportive of the University's academic programs, the mission and vision of the University Libraries and Archives or be unique in character and have intrinsic value.

Letters acknowledging the gift and providing a count of the items donated, but not appraising them, are provided to donors.  Copies of these letters are maintained in the Office of the Dean of the University Libraries and Archives.  In order to receive a letter of acknowledgment, donors should leave a name and address with the donated materials.  For gift periodical subscriptions, a letter of acknowledgement will be sent, if requested by the donor, at the time the initial agreement is reached.

General Guidelines:

The University Libraries and Archives do not accept every item offered as a gift.  Although gift books and other materials are "free," they entail substantial cost in cataloging and maintenance over the years.  We expect any gift added to the collections to meet the criteria applied to purchased materials.  Materials not retained by the University Libraries and Archives may be offered to other libraries, the general community, or sold in book sales sponsored by the department.  Retention of gift materials is subject to the following guidelines:

  • When the University Libraries and Archives accepts materials from donors, it is with the understanding that it is acceptance for review; librarians review all gifts for suitability for our collections and dispose of unwanted gifts as appropriate, unless other specific arrangements have been made with donors.  Materials not added to the collection may be sold in the University Libraries and Archives book sales and the revenue used to purchase new materials.

  • Appraisal:  The library is not in a position to assist individuals in estimating the value of a gift for tax purposes.  Value appraisal for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor.

  • Donations are handled by the Head of Collection Development.  Large-scale donations and gifts of rare books, manuscripts, and other special items should be directed to the Office of the Dean.

  • Donor plates:  Gift materials, with the exception of memorial gifts, selected special collections items, and those requested by donors, are not plated.

  • Incorporation of gifts into collections:  The general policy is to incorporate gifts into the existing collections of the University Libraries and Archives.  The benefit of gift materials is fully realized when they are placed in the existing collections with other materials on the same subject.

Criteria for Materials:

  • Material will only be added to the collection if it supports the university curriculum or is valuable to the collections of the University Libraries and Archives.

  • Materials will be examined for currency, potential usefulness and appropriateness of content and format with regard to existing collections.  For media materials, format may also determine whether a gift is accepted.  Exceptions may be made for materials donated to special collections, the University Archives, or government documents.

  • Generally, only English language materials are accepted, with a few exceptions (e. g. foreign language material which supports instruction in languages taught at the university).

  • Textbooks and related instructional aids are not normally collected, but may be added to the collection if determined to be valuable to the Library's collection.

  • Material that is damaged or in poor condition will not be accepted.

  • Material that duplicates materials already owned by the Library will not be accepted, unless it is deemed that additional copies of the title are needed. 

Gifts of Periodicals:

  • Individual issues of periodicals will not be accepted except for the purpose of completing holdings of periodicals already held in the collection.  Substantial runs of periodicals may be accepted if deemed important or useful to the collection.  The Library does not assume responsibility for continuing subscriptions to donated periodicals.

  • Continuous issue-by-issue donations of periodicals received as personal subscriptions by the donor generally will not be added to the Library's periodical collection unless deemed valuable to curricular and research interests of the University.  If added to the library's collection, the donor must agree to a long-term agreement and donate the title on a continuous and regular basis.

  • Many popular gift periodicals will be added to the popular periodical collection.  This collection is a separate periodical collection which is housed on open shelves and contains titles of general interest that are not of long-term interest to the research and curricular needs of the university.  This collection has been established to provide popular reading in a lounge area where patrons can relax and peruse current materials.  Periodicals in the popular periodical collection will be kept for short time periods: 3 months for weekly publications and 6 months for monthly publications.  Local Kansas community newspapers received as gifts from the publishers will be retained in the popular periodical and newspaper collection.  No back file will be maintained. 3 months of these titles will be retained. 


The University Libraries and Archives encourage and accept endowments.  Some endowments and gifts of money may include restrictions on expenditures, i.e., the purchase of specific materials, furniture, or equipment.  Restrictions are acceptable providing they can be interpreted to be reasonable by the library.   Monetary donations to the University Libraries and Archives should be directed to the Dean of the University Libraries and Archives and the ESU Foundation.