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Gifts Policy: Statement of Principles

Durham University Library and Heritage Collections has throughout its history benefited significantly from the generosity of its friends and benefactors. Many important, valuable and useful gifts, and numerous donations of money to purchase library materials, have enriched both its teaching and its research collections. To this day, gifts to the Library of relevant publications and collection items in all formats are welcomed and encouraged. All gifts are accepted at the discretion of the University Librarian. In so doing, the Library wishes to focus on materials that it would like to retain, and normally will not accept material which will not be added to the Collection.

When considering any offer to donate material to the Modern and General Collections of Durham University Library, the following guidelines apply:

  • Donations are welcomed which fall within the scope of the University Library’s Collection Management Policy, if they are of academic value and if they contribute significantly to the usefulness of current teaching and research collections or the Library’s established strengths.
  • The University encourages all academic staff to donate a copy of any academic publication written or edited by them to the University Library.
  • Durham University Library seeks where possible to evaluate the potential benefit of any donation in relation to regional/national collection development priorities and access and document delivery provision.
  • The Library does not usually accept donations that duplicate existing stock, except in the case of core reading list materials, or any material that is out of date or in poor physical condition.
  • The Library aims to balance the likely value to the Collection of a potential gift against the costs of cataloguing, processing, storing and conserving it. Any prohibitive delays in dealing with the regular flow of purchased library materials that acceptance of a gift could entail may also be taken into account.
  • Donations are accepted without obligation to the donors and on the understanding that upon receipt the material becomes the property of the University Library.
  • The Library will determine the most appropriate way to treat any donated material. Donations will normally be dispersed and items will be shelved with materials on the same subject or in other sequences rather than kept in separate, discrete collections. The processing of donated material is usually, though not always, given a lower priority than that accorded to purchased stock.
  • Donated material is subject to the same de-selection criteria as other library materials.
  • Durham University Library reserves the right to dispose of any gifts it deems unsuitable or unwanted.

Potential donors should contact the Library in advance, by e-mail, letter or telephone using the following contact details, for further advice and guidance about donating library materials:

Gifts Co-ordinator
Durham University Library
Stockton Road
DH1 3LY 

Tel: +44 (0)191 334 2954

Potential donors of manuscripts, early printed books, and other special materials may contact the Special Collections department of the Library direct; potential financial donors and sponsors of the Library are invited to contact the University Librarian.

Ms Judy Burg
Head of Collections
University Library and Collections

Approved by Library Committee [currently Library Steering Group], June 2004
Reported to University Senate, June 2004