Gifts to the Washington University Libraries play an important role in strengthening our collections. Each year a substantial amount of material is offered to the Libraries to enrich our holdings. Often such gifts include rare or out-of-print materials which would otherwise be difficult to acquire. A number of the most treasured works in the Libraries have been obtained through the generous gifts of donors.

The Libraries are particularly interested in historically significant and scholarly works that will be of value to researchers and students. We are always interested to hear about connections between Washington University and the donor or donated material.

As important as gifts are to the development of the Libraries’ collections, they still must be evaluated for their usefulness to our researchers and students. Additional factors to consider include potential restrictions, limitations, and the costs associated with the processing and retention of gifts.

Gifts are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the Libraries upon receipt and that the Libraries must make the final determination concerning their retention, location, cataloging, use, and disposition. If a gift does not meet our needs, we will attempt to refer the donor to a more appropriate recipient. Income from the sale of gifts is used to purchase other items needed for our research collections.

As a matter of policy, the Libraries cannot accept: titles inappropriate to an academic collection, incomplete runs of journals, materials in poor condition or outmoded formats, or titles that duplicate our existing library holdings. Here is a detailed list of items we cannot accept:

  • Textbooks
  • Popular magazines or mass market paperbacks
  • Publisher’s preview copies
  • U.S. government publications
  • Folders, binders
  • Theses, dissertations
  • Gifts of manuscripts or other unpublished materials. Instead, donors are invited to contact Special Collections (contact information below). about such gifts, as well as gifts of very old (pre-Civil War) materials and materials that are thought to be rare or unique.

Gifts to the Libraries are tax-deductible to the extent provided by the law. Donors are responsible for obtaining a qualified appraisal of the fair market value of their gifts and for paying the appraiser’s fee. IRS regulations prohibit the Libraries, as interested parties, from appraising gifts. However, the Libraries can provide donors with a list of local professional appraisers who may be consulted, and a written acknowledgement of gifts. For further information on claiming a tax deduction, contact Shannon Sowell (contact information below).

Donors who believe their materials are of special value or historical significance should contact Nadia GhasediAssociate University Librarian for Special Collections, at 314-935-5400 or

Finally, we hope you will consider making a monetary gift to support the Libraries’ mission. For more information on giving, contact Shannon Sowell, Senior Associate Director of Development for University Libraries at or 314-935-5219.

Thank you for your interest in the Washington University Libraries!


Make your gift now, or for more information on giving, contact Shannon Sowell, Senior Associate Director of Development for University Libraries at or 314-935-5219..

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