Gift Policy

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Northwestern University Library encourages the donation of gift books and other materials to enhance its collections. Once donated, gifts become the property of the University Library.


Books, journals, media, and other materials donated to the library are designated for addition to the collections based on the recommendations of subject specialist librarians. Subject specialist librarians examine donations and evaluate them in accordance with the library's collection development policies and priorities.
Factors considered when reviewing gifts include:

  • the relationship of the materials to Northwestern University's academic curricula and faculty research interests
  • the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collections
  • the inherent value of the donated items
  • potential duplication with materials already held
  • the capability of the library to process the materials

University Library reserves the right to take gifts that do not fit current collecting goals and to use them to benefit the library through sale, exchange, transfer to other libraries, or removal.


Gifts are acknowledged via correspondence to the donor, and a record of the acknowledgment letter is maintained in University Library records. Donors of collections receive confirmation of the number of items donated, not a list of specific titles.


Gifts with restrictions such as separate housing, perpetual retention, book plates, return of items not added to the collection, or restricted access, are usually not accepted. Exceptions to this policy are considered only in special circumstances, and must be approved by the University Librarian in advance of the donation.


The University Library does not appraise gifts. This policy is endorsed by the American Library Association. The IRS requires an independent appraisal if a donor plans to claim a charitable deduction above a certain value. The Gifts Coordinator can assist the donor in finding an appropriate professional appraiser who might be consulted. Tax implications of gifts are the responsibility of the donor to investigate; the University is willing to comply with IRS documentation requirements as appropriate. For more information donors should contact the Director of Development for Libraries, Press, and University Archives, Jennifer Mullman, by email or by phone at (847) 467-7278.

Learn more about giving books and materials and about other ways to support the University Library.