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Managing the Library's collections

Gifts and deposits

We are pleased to consider offers of gifts of books and other materials.

Thousands of gifts from generous donors have strengthened and enhanced our collections over the years. They greatly enhance the scholarly activities and academic reputation of the University of Leeds. The Library is very grateful for the many hundreds of donation offers that it continues to receive.

However, we hope that prospective donors appreciate our need to carefully manage limited space, staff and budget, so that we can continue to support the teaching and research needs of our users. These practical constraints have resulted in the following processes for gifts.

All donations are considered on their individual merits, guided by our Collections Strategy (PDF).

How we decide whether to accept gifts

The main factors that inform the Library's final decision to accept gifts are:

  • non-duplication of existing materials
  • relevance for current teaching or research in the University
  • relationship with our existing holdings; especially if they strengthen collections that support research or have regional or national importance
  • physical condition
  • language of publication; English language material is prioritised for the majority of subjects
  • all costs associated with cataloguing, processing, stock circulation and long-term storage.

There is a separate assessment process for evaluating rare book, archival or manuscript material. This is guided by the Special Collections development policy (PDF). Please contact Special Collections if you think your gift falls into this category.

How can I assess my donation beforehand?

We encourage all donors to conduct first checks of the items they are offering. We cannot come to your home or office to inspect material, as we have limited resources. We also lack the facilities to receive large numbers of items without prior arrangement.

Except for some items relevant to Special Collections, we do not accept the following:

  • Items already in the Library (any edition or imprint). Please check the Library Catalogue to see if we already have the item
  • textbooks or other study aids (current, historic or superseded editions)
  • journals (either individual parts, or long runs of periodicals)
  • reference works (eg encyclopaedias, directories, statistical series, dictionaries, handbooks etc)
  • Official Publications (Parliamentary or Government Department papers, Foreign or Domestic)
  • non-research-standard scholarly resources (eg schools/college level training or student material)
  • defaced, incomplete, or damaged items (eg with mould, water damage, pen/highlighter marks, insect infestation, unattached or missing pages and covers)
  • other physical objects eg artefacts, ephemera, paintings, slides, audio-visual recordings, microforms, illustrations, or other art objects (but in some subjects these may still be of interest to Special Collections).

How do I make a donation?

If your donation is not one of the items in the list above you can donate your gift.

  • Small or individual donations may be left at any of the Library enquiry desks. Small donations can be easily carried and are no more than six volumes. They do not need any security arrangements. Check Library opening hours.
  • To donate large (over six volumes) or expensive items, please contact us in advance so that we can make appropriate arrangements. We may ask you to provide more information about the items, including a full bibliographic list (author, title, publisher, year and edition).
  • For donations of rare or valuable items, or whole collections, please contact Special Collections as we must discuss these in advance. Special Collections will not accept unsolicited material.

The Library cannot pay for any costs associated with the delivery of gifts to the University. The only exceptions are for some Special Collections donations.

All donations have processing and storage costs that the Library must pay from its main budget. If you are willing to provide extra financial support towards the costs of processing your gift, it is especially helpful and welcome.

Library processing of gifts

All donations become the property of the University Library. The Library has full authority on how it deals with all donated material. This includes processing times, the final decision to accept or reject items, storage arrangements and any loan or access restrictions for users.

It is possible that quite some time can pass before we can assess or process donated items. This depends on the time of year, the staff available, other projects and space limitations. Processing donations is not a priority Library activity. Work that supports teaching and research in the University and on major library projects comes first.

We cannot usually tell donors about the progress of their gifts, or respond to requests to speed up the processing of individual donations.

If an item is not accepted into our collections, we will dispose of it in an environmentally responsible manner. We may seek an alternative home for rejected material or sell it. We are not able to tell you of the fate of any unwanted items, or arrange for their return back to the original donor.

We review all our collections regularly. We reserve the right to dispose of any item in the collections as set out in the Collections Strategy (PDF). This includes donated material, unless we agree otherwise at the time of donation.

Please contact us if you have specific queries about gifts or deposits that are not answered here.