Library Gifts

Wellesley College Library Gift Policy

1.0 Policy Statement

The Wellesley College Library Gift Policy establishes guidelines for donors and Library & Technology Services staff who respond to donor inquiries regarding potential gifts of collections resources. The policy sets gifts consideration within the context of the library’s collection development goals and priorities.

2.0 Overview

The Wellesley College Library’s collections, dating to the founding of the College, are unusually rich, providing students and faculty with access to both current information sources and to deep retrospective holdings. These resources are supplemented by access to the collections of other libraries – both nearby and around the world – through rapid interlibrary loan and document delivery services. In combination these strategies provide a rich foundation for in-depth study in many disciplines. While the primary goal of collection building at Wellesley is curriculum support, we also recognize the importance of the College’s role in the network of institutions that maintain the record of scholarship: thus we may retain items that are important primarily to the history of the scholarly disciplines if they are not well-represented in other collections.

3.0 Purpose

The Wellesley College Library Gift Policy establishes the goals and processes for handling gifts of collections resources for the library. It is intended to assist potential donors who would like to make a donation, while guiding library and LTS staff in effectively handling inquires and meeting the College’s stewardship expectations.

4.0 Scope

This policy applies to all gifts of collection resources that are offered to the Wellesley College Library.

5.0 Policy

The Library’s primary goal in accepting gifts is to supplement and strengthen the unique resources housed in the College Archives and in Special Collections.

The Archives is responsible for managing, maintaining, and making accessible those records of the College that have long-term historical value, such as administrative records, manuscripts, photographs, maps, architectural plans, honors theses, and audio/video materials. The Archives also collects materials from alumnae and others that help document and illustrate the history of Wellesley College, including scrapbooks, photographs, letters, and assorted realia and ephemera. The Archives, sometimes in consultation with the Archives Committee, considers donations of the personal or professional papers of alumnae or others when those papers enhance the Archives’ ability to support the academic mission of the College. A description of the mission and collecting goals of the Archives is outlined here.

Special Collections houses rare books, manuscripts and limited-edition contemporary artists’ books. Among its outstanding collections are the Durant collection, the English Poetry Collection, the Plimpton Collection and the Book Arts Collection. While these collections are developed primarily through purchase, the funds available are quite limited and, thus, appropriate gifts constitute an important source of new acquisitions.  [Description of collecting goals will be forthcoming.]

The General Collections, which support the curriculum of the College, are built primarily through acquisition and rarely through donation. Exceptions to this policy may be made on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Library Collections or the Manager of Collections Management & Preservation. The collection development policy for the general collections is detailed here.

The Library cannot accept gifts on which a donor places restrictions that will negatively affect the use of the material.

5.1 Responsibilities

The Library Gift Policy is a component of the Wellesley College Policy on Gifts of Tangible Property, approved by the Board of Trustees in 1996.  The Chief Information Officer is responsible for following the overall Wellesley College Policy on Gifts of Tangible Property.

All offers of donations to the Library will be referred to the Director of the Library Collections Group.  The Archivist is the primary contact for gift offers for the Archives; the Curator of Special Collections is the key contact for gifts for Special Collections; and the Manager of Collections Management & Preservation is key contact for inquiries about the General Collections.

5.2 Process for Evaluating and Accepting Gifts

  • The donor will provide a description of any gift before it can be considered. If a collection is offered, either in whole or in part, a full description (including card files, lists, manifest, etc.) is extremely useful. In the absence of such documentation, the Library may require on-site evaluation of the collection by library staff before a determination to accept can be made.
  • Library staff cannot provide appraisals for tax purposes. If an appraisal is needed, it is the responsibility of the donor and should be completed before the gift is presented to the Library.
  • The Archivist or the Curator of Special Collections will acknowledge gifts for their collections, copying Resources on their letters when warranted. Donors who deliver gifts to the Library will receive a copy of the Library’s Gift Acceptance Form as a receipt and interim record of the transfer of ownership.

5.3 Disposition of Gifts

All gifts will be cataloged, with holdings information added to the Library’s public catalog; Archives collections appear in the library catalog, the institutional repository or via web-accessible finding aids.

Gifts that are received but not added to the collection may be disposed of in one of the following ways:

  • If it has been arranged in advance, they may be returned to the donor.
  • They may be sold to a specialty book dealer and the proceeds used to support future acquisitions.
  • In cases where other institutions have teaching or collecting goals which the gift supports more appropriately, these institutions may be offered the gift.

6.0 Policies Cross-Referenced

7.0 Effective Date

This policy has been approved by the Office for Resources and is effective May 1, 2012.