Guidelines for the Acquisition of Gift Collections

(Revised by T M Izbicki October 2011)

This document sets forth guidelines to assist selectors in their decisions to accept or decline gifts for the Libraries general collections. It is understood, however, that selectors will rely as well on their own judgment, and discretion at every opportunity for a gift acquisition. (The specific policies of Special Collections / University Archives or to the Institute of Jazz Studies apply to gifts to those units.) Acquiring gifts is one way to develop collections that can greatly benefit the Libraries. While initially free, however, gift collections involve significant costs for processing and maintenance, as well as any preservation treatment they might need. Gifts must be selected according to the criteria of other collection development decisions: they should be within the scope of current teaching and research at Rutgers or they should have long-term cultural value. In addition to Rutgers subject foci, consult other Collection Development Policies, especially those related to Translations, Editions, and Duplication. Before a final decision to accept a gift collection, there should be an expectation that the material will be accessible to users in a reasonable amount of time after the acquisition of the gift. However, the Libraries cannot promise to process and catalog gift materials within a stipulated time period or by a specified date.

Bringing in large gift collections (50 or more for book titles or 20 cubic feet for manuscripts) often requires diplomatic skills with donors and library personnel, planning for pickup of materials, staging areas, sorting, cataloging, permanent storage space, and potential fund-raising for processing. The Review Form for Potential New Collection needs to be filled out for large collections and reviewed with the AUL for Collection development.

Potential donors should understand that gifts of materials that are accepted by the Rutgers University Libraries become the absolute and unconditional property of the Libraries. RUL will make all decisions as to their retention, location, and other considerations relating to their use or disposition. Materials, including portions of collective gifts, which the Libraries determine are not suitable for adding to the collections may be exchanged with other libraries, offered for sale, or otherwise disposed of in accordance with the Libraries' established policies and procedures. Gifts intended to be housed at one of the libraries at Rutgers will, with few exceptions, be made available to users in any RUL library. With very few exceptions, acceptance of deposit collections is emphatically discouraged.

The following guidelines should be observed in considering gift collections, both large and small.

Initial Selection Decision:

Initial Processing:

Determine location where the incoming gift will be located:

Since space at this time is limited in Cataloging and throughout the library, the location for gift while it is being processed must be known before it arrives.

Pick Up and Delivery of Collections:

Pick up of small collections is the responsibility of the local unit. Requests for picking up medium and large collections located with a two- to three-hour drive of the College Avenue Campus may be submitted to the Shipping and Receiving Department. See Public Services Memo 8 for definitions and further details.

Later Processing:

Determine Fund Raising Possibilities:

Acknowledgment letters:

Acknowledgment letters should be prepared by the AUL/CDM and include: a short, accurate description of the materials (including volume of materials and kind), as well as the date of gift. This information is not only helpful for us, internally, by providing an accurate record of how many and the quality of non-cash gifts we receive, but it will also help donors should they decide to take a charitable tax deduction for their gift. The AUL/CDM and the Director of Development should receive copies of acknowledgement letters.

Tax Considerations for the Donor:

Under certain circumstances, gifts of books and other materials may be eligible for a charitable tax deduction. The IRS determines the guidelines for declaring such a 'gift-in-kind' and has several sets of instructions for various forms that may be required when filing such a claim. As each non-cash gift is unique and may pose its own special considerations, please consult with the Director of Development if the donor you are working with requests help with this process.

As the accepting non-profit institution, we are prohibited by the IRS from giving any legal advice or providing an appraisal of materials. The Director of Development and allied professionals in the Rutgers University Foundation do work with donors to meet their needs for information about charitable gift considerations, including recommendations about how to work with their financial advisor and how to obtain an independent, qualified appraisal, if necessary. There is also a university process of acknowledging non-cash gifts, which ensures the university will thank the donor, and that accurate records of non-cash gifts will be logged for general information and statistical reporting. Again, the Director of Development and Foundation staff can assist you with this part of the gift acceptance process. If a qualified appraisal is carried out, it is extremely helpful for the Libraries to get a copy of the appraisal so it can keep track of the value of gifts in kind.

Guidelines for Condition of Materials Assessment:

Gift material in poor physical condition should be rejected unless they are rare and of special interest to the Libraries. Repairing such material adds to the cost of the acquisition of the material.

Mold is the most severe and dangerous condition to be aware of. Gift collections should be evaluated for mold prior to delivery to the library building whenever possible. If there is any suspicion of mold, Preservation staff will be called upon to look at moldy material. Documents that are found to have mold will not be accepted unless there is a source of funding for treatment. Treatment, in this case, is a cost of acquisition, and must be covered by collection development dollars. Material accepted under these circumstances must be immediately isolated and sent for treatment as described above as soon as possible. Gifts found to be moldy after receipt can be discarded.

Other types of poor physical condition including torn, brittle or missing covers, brittle paper, and missing pages can be managed more easily but still at a cost and should only be done when the material is of unusual significance.

Selectors may consider gift materials in good condition as replacements for worn duplicate copies already in the Libraries' collections.

Last updated: October 2011
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