Legacy of Books

Legacy of Books is a great way to express your personal love of books or to honor others for graduations, holidays, memorial tributes, retirements, birthdays, thanks, or any other special occasion.

“Of all the inanimate objects, of all men’s creations, books are the nearest to us, for they contain our very thoughts, our ambitions, our indignations, our illusions, our fidelity to truth, and our persistent leaning toward error. But most of all they resemble us in their precarious hold on life.” – Joseph Conrad


Imagine that the written record of human thought and endeavor were slowly disintegrating, eventually becoming unreadable. Today Washington University Libraries, with holdings approaching 4 million books and other media, face that daunting dilemma, as age and use take a steady toll. If our extraordinary collections are to be passed on intact to future generations, we must act. Help us preserve our past and protect our future giving to the Libraries’ Legacy of Books program.


The Legacy of Books program extends the life of the Libraries’ collections – not just books but also periodicals, manuscripts, government documents, rare books, and sound and moving image recordings. Repairs are done by the Libraries’ Preservation Unit or by independent professional conservators.

A tax-deductible gift of $100 covers the cost of preserving one library book or other item or reproducing it in another medium. Larger gifts cover multiple items or more costly conservation projects. Names of the donor and honoree will be inscribed on a special bookplate and will appear in the online catalog entry.

People who give to this program understand that keeping existing library materials available is as important as acquiring new library materials. Some give to express their love of books, other to memorialize someone or to celebrate a graduation, anniversary, birthday, or other special event. This generosity helps the Libraries conserve damaged or deteriorating materials faster and gets materials back in the hands of users.


Library books that are particularly rare or unique often require expensive conservation efforts. Donors who give $1,000 or more may choose from a wish list of endangered library materials that have been prioritized for professional conservation. Visit www.library.wustl.edu/wishlist or call Mary Druyvesteyn, Director of Development for University Libraries at 314-935-5219 for a current wish list. This site also shows some books that have been conserved through the generosity of donors to this program.


All gifts to this program are tax-deductible.

Gift Amount Gift Recognition & Other Benefits
  • A personalized bookplate in 1 book
  • The name(s) you designate listed in the Libraries’ online catalog, along with the book’s other information
  • Print mailings or email notices of library events
$200-999 All the above benefits plus

  • Additional personalized bookplates and online catalog entries (1 for each $100 increment)
  • Annual membership in the Libraries’ Century Club
  • A library card that lets you check out circulating materials owned by Washington University Libraries
$1000 or more All the above benefits plus

  • Option to select 1 or more items for conservation from the Libraries’ wish list of high-priority endangered items
  • Annual membership in the Eliot Society
  • By request, a parking sticker for free parking on campus
  • Limited use of the athletic complex
  • Invitation to join the Whittemore House faculty club
  • Invitation to the annual Eliot Society dinner
  • Listing in the University’s annual Honor Roll

Make your gift now, or for more information on giving, contact Mary Druyvesteyn, Director of Development for University Libraries at druyvesteyn@wustl.edu or 314-935-5219.

Make A Gift