Gifts & Donations Policy

Donating Normal Books You No Longer Want

Donations can either be shipped to the Library (to the attention of "Gifts and Exchanges") or delivered to the library circulation desk.

Gifts & Exchanges
University Library
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053-0500

For all materials that we keep, the University can acknowledge the gift in writing for tax purposes; please include a name and address if you want such an acknowledgment. We do not send an acknowledgment for any materials that we do not keep; if this is important, then you will want to provide lists of titles to us and get confirmation of what will be accepted before donating materials.

Generally we will only add materials that support the teaching and research programs of the university. The library will review the materials (or lists of titles, if you wish to provide those to us) to see what we might need or want to add to our collection. Examples of materials we do not want are below.

For donated materials that we do not add, we have an arrangement with a bookseller who will take these materials from us and find a library or an individual that does need them. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the books would go to a foundation that helps with literacy in Africa. Note that the Library discontinued its book sale after May 2014 so we are no longer seeking large donations of materials that aren't appropriate for an academic library. The Salvation Army is happy to receive these kinds of donations.

Questions about "normal" books and lists for possible donations can be directed to Shara Scardina, Collections Specialist.

Donating Rare & Valuable Books

Archives & Special Collections is actively seeking donations in these areas:

  • materials about the Jesuit order and its history, philosophy, and pedagogy in the United States
  • non-fiction works about California (Alta and Baja) - from the Spanish era to the present day, and especially works of local history
  • anthropology of native Americans of California (Alta and Baja)
  • works about 17th and 18th century Judeo-Christian theology
  • 18th and 19th century travel and voyage literature (pertaining to California) - especially personal narratives
  • printed bibles (pre-1850), illuminated bibles (any era), and bibles related to local families
  • 19th century memorabilia pertaining to Santa Clara University and/or Santa Clara city or county

Limited editions and fine print books are also sometimes wanted, depending on topic and valuation.

For these kinds of materials, potential donors should supply a list of titles to be donated. Any materials under consideration for inclusion in Archives & Special Collections must be reviewed by the Head of Archives & Special Collections or their designee.

If you're not sure about whether something you have would meet these criteria, please contact Sheila Conway or Rice Majors.

Some Things to Note

Once materials are accepted and received, they become the property of the library. The library reserves the right to make all necessary decisions as to their retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations regarding their use and disposition. Exceptions may apply if terms are mutually agreed upon in writing by both the donor and the library.

Donors are generally responsible for the cost of shipping and always responsible for providing an estimate of the value of the donation if one is needed as the library is prohibited from appraising gifts.

Donors of library materials may be required to file IRS Form 8283. The IRS requires the university to track for two years all in-kind gifts that are valued at $500 or more. If the library sells, transfers, or otherwise disposes of an item within this two-year time frame, the university is required to file IRS Form 8282, notifying the IRS of the disposition and the amount the university received for that item. The IRS requires the university to inform you that your contribution for tax purposes is limited to the market value of your in-kind donation, less the value of goods and services of benefit to the donor.

Gifts that are accepted may be reviewed subsequently for compliance to this policy and retention decisions.

Materials Not Generally Accepted

There are some materials that we do not want donated at all; if they are donated, we will work with a bookseller to find an appropriate home for them. Examples of materials we generally don't accept include:

  • titles the library already owns (unless in high use, or a newer or an otherwise special edition)
  • textbooks
  • popular trade paperbacks
  • popular magazines
  • back issues or single issues of periodicals
  • serials subscriptions
  • VHS recordings
  • audio recordings in any format
  • materials in poor condition

When exceptions are warranted, these exceptions require approval by Rice Majors, Associate University Librarian for Resources and Digital Services.

Note that exceptional gifts-in-kind also require approval by the University Librarian and the Associate University Librarians to be accepted. Examples of exceptional gifts-in-kind include:

  • large print collections of more than 1,000 volumes
  • collections of mixed media, multi-formats, or digital content
  • content with specific technical requirements and hosting needs
  • items or collections that have a dollar value over $5,000
  • collections of a foreign language outside of in-house expertise



Questions about this policy may be sent to Rice Majors, Associate University Librarian for Resources and Digital Services.

Policy approved March 19, 2014; editorial changes made August 12, 2014.