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University Library Gifts Policy
The below policy addresses donations of print, non-print, and related gifts of both general and special nature. It does not address the specialized requirements of manuscripts and archives. The University Archivist, Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and other specialists must be consulted when dealing with the donation of manuscripts, rare books, and University-related collections.
The University of Illinois Library accepts gifts-in-kind to help provide additional materials that might not otherwise be available to users of our collections, but only after mediation from the appropriate disciplinary librarian(s) and departmental library(ies). Gifts to the Library benefit students and researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as thousands of researchers and citizens throughout Illinois, the nation, and the world.
The University Library does not, however, accept gifts without prior screening due to a number of factors including cost of assessment and processing, high likelihood of duplication within the existing collections, and difficulty in appropriate disposal.
Disposition of Gift Materials
Regardless of the size of the gift, it is the responsibility of the disciplinary librarian working with a donor to advise him or her that any donated material not added to the collection may be sold to dealers, shared with other state university libraries, or otherwise handled. Disciplinary librarians cannot agree to return donated materials that are not selected for retention by the Library, nor should they agree to add items to the Library’s collections until after a thorough screening has been completed. The University Archives is the exception to this rule, where donors are routinely asked to indicate whether items should be disposed of or returned.
Acknowledgment of Gifts
Donors are to be sent written acknowledgments in a timely fashion, unless they specifically request that no acknowledgment be made. Donors frequently use acknowledgments for tax purposes – this expectation along with the development of good donor relations requires that acknowledgments be made as soon as possible after a gift is received. For smaller gifts, the disciplinary librarian or receiving unit may use the Library’s Gift Acknowledgement Letter Web form template to initiate written documentation for the donor as well as the Library. The librarian may also choose to write an acknowledgment letter containing the same kind of information that is requested on the form, including a listing or count of the donation, the date the items were received, information about the possible disposition of the material, and information about income tax issues. All acknowledgments should include a description of the material that has been donated, including quantity. The Office of Library Advancement must be notified of all gifts accepted, and given a copy of any acknowledgment letters, as well as details of any agreements made with the donors. It is not necessary to provide the Office of Collections and Technical Services with a copy of acknowledgments, as this Office works closely with the Office of Library Advancement on gifts. The AUL for Collections and Technical Services and/or the Collection Management Services unit will notify the Office of Library Advancement of materials accepted through their office.
Deeds of Gift
The Deed of Gift is a document that conveys the gift material to the Library without any encumbrances, including copyright or ownership issues. It spells out any terms or conditions of the gift and provides a clear title to the material. If a gift in its entirety is potentially valued at $5,000 or more, a Deed of Gift is required. The Office of Library Advancement will work with the donor to prepare these Deeds of Gift.
The unit accepting a gift that requires a Deed of Gift must notify the Office of Library Advancement of the gift at the time the gift is accepted. The Office of Library Advancement is responsible for issuing the Deed of Gift, in consultation with the University Librarian, the AUL for Collections and Technical Services, and the Library faculty member in charge of the unit where the collection be will located. The Office of Library Advancement keeps the master files for these gifts, including copies of the Deed of Gift.
We cannot provide any specific endorsements for appraisers, but one can search for an appraiser using the Appraisers Association website.
Accepting Significant Collections
Significant collections are identified as collections that have at least one of the following physical characteristics:
- are physically voluminous (over 100 items)
- have potentially significant financial value (over $1,000 for a single item or over $5,000 for the collection as a whole)
- are rare items
- are in need of individualized physical processing or specialized conservation work.
The Library has the obligation to our donors and to our collections to house, process, and preserve these materials in an appropriate manner. The Library also has the obligation to ensure that the collection fits the intellectual, curricular, and scholarly foci of the University.
Following initial screening by the appropriate disciplinary librarian(s), whenever a significant collection is being considered for acquisition by the Library, it must be reviewed by the AUL for Collections and Technical Services and the Head, Collection Management Services, in consultation, as appropriate, with the following units: Preservation Services, Library Advancement, University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and subject specialists as indicated by the contents of the gift. They are responsible for assessing the handling and impact of the gift as it relates to the following areas:
- does the gift fit our collections intellectually?
- does the Library have the space to house the gift, from initial storage to final processing?
- does the Library have the staff and ancillary resources to process the gift in a timely fashion?
- does the gift require conservation, reformatting, or other significant preservation treatment?
- has the appropriate Deed of Gift and preliminary development work been arranged with the Office of Library Advancement, including discussions on possible funding for processing and conservation?
Memorandum of Understanding
Prior to acceptance of a significant, gift a Library Gifts Memorandum of Understanding must be drawn up and signed by the librarian conducting the receipt of the gift, the AUL for Collections and Technical Services, the Head, Collections Management Services, and any other necessary departments. The purpose of this is to provide documentation, including background information and a description of the significance behind the gift. In addition, the Memo of Understanding details the process agreed upon by all parties in regards to how this gift will be handled, processed, stored, and a timeline in which to accomplish this.
Preservation and Conservation Concerns for Gift Collections
Generally, the Library will not accept or accession any item that is infected with mold or an active pest infestation of any nature. Individual items and collections that exhibit any signs of mold and/or pest infestation (holes or chewed material, eggs and egg casings, live or dead insects, insect frass, mammals and their droppings, etc…) shall be evaluated by the Head of Preservation Services.
For Individual Items and Gifts – Please refer to the following website for a copy of Preservation Services’ Preservation Processing Policy for Gifts and Newly Acquired Older Materials.
For Large Collections – Preservation Services’ Preservation Processing Policy for Gifts and Newly Acquired Older Materials applies. For collections that exhibit significant damage or infestation that are crucial to the library’s mission, the Library will consider approaching the donor for supplemental funds to assist in treating and processing the collection. If no supplemental funds are available, the AUL for Collections and Technical Services and the Head, Collection Management Services will re-evaluate their recommendation for accepting the gift.
For Rare and Valuable Items – Preservation Services’ Preservation Processing Policy for Gifts and Newly Acquired Older Materials applies. For collections that exhibit significant damage or infestation that are crucial to the library’s mission, the Library will consider approaching the donor for supplemental funds to assist in treating and processing the collection. If no supplemental funds are available, the AUL for Collections and Technical Services and the Head, Collection Management Services will re-evaluate accepting the gift.
Revised policy approved by the Collection Development Committee, June 2018
Edited for clarity, February 2019