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Policy 6: Acquiring Value Gift Material

University of Missouri Libraries

General Policy Manual Policy No. 6

Policy on Acquiring Value Gift Material

  • Scope of Policy
    • This policy applies to all value gift materials offered to the MU Libraries. It does not apply to University Archives.
    • Value gifts are defined as gifts of tangible personal property that have a determinable value. In the context of this policy, gifts are understood to be books, periodicals and other classes of material that are regularly collected by the MU Libraries and that will enhance the collections. (Sample issues of journals and other materials sent to the Libraries for promotional or public relations purposes are not covered by this policy. The policy also excludes free subscriptions which are sent directly to the Acquisitions Dept. on a regular basis by the publisher or society responsible for the publication.)
  • General Policy
    • The MU Libraries have benefited from the acceptance of many valuable and useful gifts for the Libraries’ collections. Such gifts enhance the Libraries’ ability to support teaching and scholarship, as well as providing opportunities to establish strong relationships with donors and other friends of the Libraries. It is therefore in the best interests of the Libraries to maintain a program for the acceptance, acknowledgment, and processing or disposition of value gift materials.
    • Because gift materials have a potential impact on space and on staff resources, and therefore can represent a cost to the Libraries, it is necessary to establish policies to regulate the way in which we deal with gifts in the Libraries.
    • The complexity of these issues suggests the need for considerable flexibility in addressing gift situations. In all circumstances beyond the routine, the Director of Libraries will make the final decision to accept gift material and determine any conditions related to such acceptance.
  • Evaluating Gifts
    • The Libraries welcome gifts. However, certain categories of gifts cannot be accepted, either because they will provide little benefit in return for the cost of processing them, or because they present potential legal or ethical difficulties.
    • The Libraries will not accept issues of popular magazines, issues of academic journals that the Libraries already hold, or items in poor physical condition (e.g. moldy or insect-infested items, extremely brittle items, books coming loose from their bindings, books with many heavily marked pages, etc.)
    • Issues of journals from personal subscriptions will not ordinarily be accepted. (At the Libraries’ discretion they may be accepted to fill in for damaged issues or issues missing from the Libraries’ subscription.) The Libraries will not accept an offer from an individual to subscribe to a publication at the personal subscription rate and donate the issues to the Libraries. Under certain circumstances, the Libraries may accept gifts of back volumes of journals as a unit, provided this is allowed by the publisher of the journal.
    • In order to assure compliance with copyright law, the libraries may not accept donations of “home-made” recordings of broadcasts, cable transmissions, or live theatrical or musical performances or “home-made” reproductions of recordings or of pictorial material. Lawfully produced recordings made with the express permission of the performers and authors/composers/artists may be accepted. Gifts of non-commercial recordings must be accompanied by written confirmation that these permissions have been given.
    • Materials that are distributed under license will only be accepted if accompanied by a print copy of the license and if the license allows transfer of ownership and typical library use.
    • Donors who offer collections which the Libraries do not accept may be advised to offer their collection to the public library or other more appropriate recipient.
  • Intake of Gift Materials
    • The Acquisitions Dept. has responsibility for coordinating the intake of gift materials, whether they are offered in advance or are brought to the Libraries without prior arrangement. The Acquisitions Dept. works closely with the Libraries’ Development Officer, the MU Development Office, and others to insure that gifts are processed efficiently and acknowledged appropriately.
    • No restrictions or conditions for acceptance of gifts (including but not limited to disposition, location, use, circulation, etc.) will be agreed to unless such conditions are accepted by the Director of Libraries.
    • Subject selectors in the various disciplines collected by the Libraries have the responsibility to evaluate gifts for possible addition to the collections. In addition to the suitability of the content, selectors should consider the physical condition of the gift, potential processing costs, and availability of library space in their recommendation. The Libraries’ Development Officer may advise of any donor relations issues associated with a particular gift.
    • The Acquisitions Dept. is responsible for establishing and maintaining procedures by which selectors can regularly review gift materials and indicate which should be added to the collections.
    • When the Libraries receive large collections of gifts devoted to specific subject areas, the Acquisitions Dept. may shelve the collection separately and ask selectors to review the collection all together, rather than use the regular review procedures.
    • Some gift materials may be given directly to branch libraries. In those instances, the branch selector may send the materials to Acquisitions with instructions about whether the materials should be added. This would preclude the need for these gifts to be sent through the regular review process. (Gifts received directly at the Health Sciences Library are fully processed there and are not sent to Acquisitions.)
    • Pickup of Gift Material
      • The Libraries are not responsible for picking up gift materials and delivering them to the Libraries. Donors will need to make their own arrangements.
      • Donors may sometimes request that the Libraries pick up gift materials from a home or office. Such requests should be evaluated either by telephone or through a site visit, before the Libraries agree to make an exception and commit resources for this purpose. The evaluation should consider the size and subject focus, if any, of the collection, where it is located, and whether it contains a high proportion of materials which, by policy, the Libraries do not typically accept. The Director of Libraries or the Development Officer may know of other circumstances which need to be considered. Decisions to pick up materials should be made through consultation with the appropriate subject specialist or the Collection Development Librarian, the Administrative Services Division, and the Development Officer.
      • The Libraries are sometimes offered important and/or valuable gift materials which are located outside the Columbia area. Terms and arrangements for the transport of such materials will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Processing and Disposition of Gifts
    • Acknowledgement of Gifts
      • The Libraries acknowledge all gifts, whether added to the collections or not. This is in addition to the acknowledgements done by the University Development Office.
      • Each donor of library gift material is asked to fill out a gift receipt form to provide information upon which an acknowledgement can be based.
      • The Acquisitions Dept. is responsible for forwarding information about donations of library materials to the University Development Office and the Libraries Development Office in a timely fashion. The Libraries Development Office keeps records of all gifts.
      • The Acquisitions Dept. reports annually the number of gifts added to the collections.
      • Publicity for outstanding gifts is coordinated by the Director of Libraries. He/she may summarize significant gifts in the MU Libraries Annual Report.
    • Identifying Gifts in the Collections; Cataloging Gifts
      • It is not standard procedure to bookplate gift materials. However, if requested by the donor or if deemed appropriate by the Libraries, bookplates can be applied.
      • There are a number of possibilities for identifying gifts using MERLIN records. Notes or codes can be included in item records to facilitate future counting and tracking of gifts, both generally and those in particular collections. If information about particular gift collections needs to be viewable by patrons, special notes and/or added entries can be placed in the bibliographic record. Given the staff resources needed to do this, such notes and/or added entries will be included only at the request of the Director of Libraries.
      • Gifts which are selected for the collections enter the regular cataloging workflow and are subject to the same priority-setting processes as other materials awaiting cataloging.
    • Disposition of Gifts
      • Gifts not selected for the collections will be disposed of in the most appropriate way.
      • Gifts not selected for the collections cannot be returned to the donor.
      • The Libraries do not search for other potential recipients for gift materials which the Libraries cannot use.
      • The Libraries cannot inform donors whether their gifts have been selected for the collections, nor can they inform donors when their gifts have been cataloged.
  • The Value of Gifts and Compliance with Tax Laws
    • Statements Concerning the Value of Gifts
      • When contacted about gift materials, the Acquisitions Dept. should determine at the time of the donation whether the donor wishes an evaluation for tax purposes.
      • The establishment of the gift’s value for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor. The Library, as an “interested party,” by law cannot provide an appraisal or pay for such appraisal.
        • The Libraries will not prepare lists of what the donor has given.
        • The acceptance of a gift which has been appraised by a disinterested party does not imply endorsement of the appraisal by the Libraries.
    • Compliance with Tax Laws
      • MU Libraries act in full compliance with all federal and state tax laws, especially the relevant provisions of the federal Tax Reform Act of 1984 (P.L. 98-369), relating to “Non-cash Charitable Contributions.” Under this Act, all non-cash donations valued in excess of $5,000 require specific actions by the donor and the donee:
        • A qualified appraisal must be made and must be filed with the donor’s income tax return. (The Libraries must receive a copy of the detailed appraisal in these cases. The donee cannot pay for this appraisal.)
        • The Libraries, as donee, must provide a formal acknowledgment of the gift (IRS form 8283) and must provide a formal accounting to the IRS (IRS form 8282) and to the donor (a copy of IRS form 8282) of the disposition of gifts held two years or less.
        • In order to comply with the provisions of this Act, MU Libraries must make special conditions for potential gifts and gift collections known or estimated to be valued in excess of $5,000. These conditions go beyond conditions in force elsewhere in this policy for gifts of lesser value. These conditions apply to the donation of (a) a single gift valued in excess of $5,000; (b) a gift collection valued in excess of $5,000; or, (c) gifts over the course of any single tax year that, taken together, constitute a donation of $5,000 or more.
        • MU Libraries require an itemized appraisal by a “qualified appraiser” (according to the provisions of the act) that includes the Donor Identification Number for all gifts in categories a, b, or c above.
        • After examining the appraisal and/or the collection or both, MU Libraries may accept or reject the donation. If MU Libraries accept the donation, they will either add the item(s) to their collection or they will abide by the code and notify the IRS of any disposal within the two-year time period.
        • The MU Libraries Development Officer will retain the itemized appraisals for two years from the tax year in which the donation was made. This provision applies whether the donation is added in whole or in part.
        • For all gifts added to the collections from the categories named above, a note will be placed in the MERLIN item record containing the date on which the donation was accepted. Gifts in these categories will not be discarded during the two years after that date. Gifts in these categories which are accepted but not added to the collections will be marked with the date of acceptance and retained for two years before disposition.
    • All provisions of this section are subject to revision based on the Act itself and its interpretation by the Director of Libraries.

Approved by Library Council: May 12, 1983
Approved by Director of Libraries: May 17, 1983
Revised December 19, 1985
Drafted October 3, 1991
Approved by Library Council November 18, 1991
Revised February 16, 2004
Approved by Library Council June 10, 2004
Revised July 2016