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Library Policies: Donation Policy

Donation Policy

Policy on Gifts and Donations

Table of Contents


Guidlines and Goals for Accepting Gifts

Process for Accepting Gifts

Process for Evaluating Gifts

Disposition of Gift Materials

Gift Acceptance Form


McGovern Library is grateful for offers of gifts and materials for its collections.  The library welcomes donations that enhance the library’s support of Dakota Wesleyan University’s teaching and resource needs. The library declines offers of gifts if they unnecessarily duplicate existing holdings, if the subject matter is outside the scope of its collections, if the items are in poor condition, or if there are donor restrictions the library cannot honor.

In addition to the general circulating collections of the McGovern Library, specialized resources exist in the University Archives. The University Archives house the official records of DWU, as well as other University-related materials worthy of preservation due to their enduring legal or historical value. This collection has been built entirely by deposit or donation.

The McGovern Library also houses the archives of the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Persons wishing to donate items to DCUMC Archives should contact Laurie Langland, University Archivist (995-2134).

Guidelines and Goals for Accepting Gifts

Due to the high costs of managing the gift process, the library's goal in accepting gifts is to acquire only materials which are highly relevant to the institution's needs. All potential gifts will be evaluated in terms of the collection development goals of the library. These include:

  • Supporting the current and evolving curriculum
  • Supporting the basic research needs of faculty and students
  • Maintaining older collections of depth

Process for Accepting Gifts

  1. The Library Director is responsible for following the overall Dakota Wesleyan University Policy on Gifts.

  2. All offers of donations to the library are referred to the Library Director or designee. In the case of gifts destined for the general and special collections, the primary contact is the Library Director. The University Archivist is primary contact for gifts to the Archives.

  3. 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.

  4. The Library Director will acknowledge all donations. The University Archivist will send separate acknowledgments for gifts to the Archives. 

  5. Donors who deliver gifts without prior contact with library staff will receive a copy of the library's Gift Acceptance Form as a receipt and interim record of the transfer of ownership.

  6. The library will not accept gifts on which a donor places restrictions that will negatively affect the use of the materials.

  7. If, on subsequent evaluation, subject specialists determine material to be inappropriate, it will not be added to the collections, but will be disposed of as described below.

  8. Due to tax regulations, the library cannot provide an estimated value of donations.  Donors may wish to have gifts evaluated by a professional appraiser prior to donation.

Process for Evaluating Gifts

  1. All gifts are to be evaluated in light of the following criteria:
    • ability to add depth or breadth to the existing collections
    • support of overall collection development priorities
    • relevance of content
    • physical condition

  2. The library will not accept gifts when their physical condition does not allow normal library shelving and use.  In some rare cases the library may accept books of sufficiently important content or provenance even if they require professional treatment to protect and preserve them. In these cases, the donor may be asked to provide the resources for this treatment.

  3. Librarians will evaluate gifts accepted for the general and special collections. They will make the final decision on adding unique or additional copies to the collections.

  4. The Archivist will evaluate all potential donations to Archives collections.

  5. When specialized knowledge is required to evaluate a gift, library staff may consult with members of the faculty or others with appropriate expertise.

Disposition of Gift Materials

  1. With the exception of some archival materials, most gifts added to the collection will be cataloged and listed in the library’s online public catalog.  Some materials may be added to the library’s uncataloged Browsing Collection.

  2. Since all gift materials that are added to the general collections are shelved in the appropriate subject classification or existing special collection areas, the library cannot maintain separate named collections.

  3. Gifts that are 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.
    • If of artifactual value, 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 more appropriately supports, these institutions may be offered the gift. The first preference is to place the item in one of the member libraries of the South Dakota Library Association (SDLN) to which Dakota Wesleyan belongs.
    • Unaccessioned gifts may be sold, at nominal prices, at the periodic books sales held for Dakota Wesleyan students and faculty. The proceeds will be used to support future acquisitions.

  4. Donors who offer items or collections that Dakota Wesleyan cannot accept may be referred to other libraries or to book donation programs.

For questions relating to general gift policy matters or for information concerning basic tax and estate planning in connection with gifts-in-kind, visit the Dakota Wesleyan University Advancement Office or call 605-995-2603.

Adopted June 2006

Portions used with permission from:
Wellesley College Library

University of Virginia Library

© 2016 McGovern Library, Dakota Wesleyan University

Contact us: McGovern Library | Ph. 605.995.2618 | Fax 605.995.2893 | 1200 W. University Ave, Mitchell, SD 57301