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Gifts and deposits

Special Collections donations

Generous donations have contributed to the growth of our rich and varied Special Collections for almost 100 years, and we welcome offers of material.

However, we are not able to accept everything that is offered. To help us decide what is suitable for our collections, we wish to know as much as possible about your donation in advance.

If your material fits with our Special Collections development policy (PDF), is in good condition, and has a full history, we may accept it into our permanent collections.

How to donate

Please contact Special Collections by email, telephone or in writing before sending or bringing in your books, manuscripts or objects. If possible, send a photograph so that we can see what the material looks like.

We are not always able to add unsolicited donations to our stock or to return them.

We do not normally accept material:

  • on long-term loan
  • with specific conditions attached
  • that contains hazardous objects or substances eg firearms, objects containing asbestos, explosive, flammable, poisonous, potentially carcinogenic or radioactive material.

We are unable to provide valuations.

Contact details


Tel: 0113 343 5518

Special Collections
Leeds University Library
University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT

How we decide whether to accept gifts

The decision to accept material is made by a group of curators. We will ask for information about your proposed donation such as its format, size, and condition to help with our discussions. We will enquire about data protection and copyright implications. We may ask for proof of the custodial history of material. We may wish to view collections or items before accepting them.

A curator will let you know of our decision regarding your material. If we accept your donation, we will arrange a suitable collection or delivery date with you.

It is possible that Special Collections will be unable to accept your offer. Please do not be offended. It could be that we already have a similar example, or that your material is of a type we do not collect. Our staff can advise you if another organisation collects this type of material.

How you can make a donation

We prefer to accept items by donation or bequest.

Donation means that the owner assigns title of the material to the University of Leeds. The ownership of copyright in the material is not transferred, unless this is agreed at the time.

With bequest, and the government’s acceptance-in-lieu scheme, the material is bequeathed to the University on death by will. Owners are encouraged to discuss potential bequests during their lifetime. Special Collections retains the right to refuse material which does not meet its collecting priorities.

The terms on which we hold material will be governed by an acquisition agreement which, as owner, you or your executor will be asked to sign. We will send a copy of the agreement with a formal acknowledgement of the donation or bequest.

The stewardship of collections requires significant investment. If you are willing to provide financial or other support for our work, it is especially helpful and welcome, and we are happy to discuss options.

Please contact Special Collections if you have any further queries.