Guidelines for Gift-In-Kind (materials) Donations

Thank you for considering Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) at UBC Library as a home for your rare or distinctive print or archival materials! RBSC is home to outstanding research collections of rare books, archival materials, historic maps, photographs, broadsides and pamphlets, artifacts, and more. Our collecting strengths and priorities are listed in the Collections Guidelines on our website.

Working within the framework of the overall UBC Library collection development policies, our collection development strategy concentrates on acquiring material through purchase and donation to augment existing strengths and address collections gaps or emerging research at UBC. RBSC at UBC Library welcomes inquiries from prospective donors wishing to donate materials that meet the following criteria.

Materials may include:

  • Personal and organizational archives or collections, which may include manuscript records, photographs, moving images, sound recordings, and which support the collecting areas listed in the Collections Guidelines on our website
    • For a broad definition of what archives are, please see the International Council on Archives page ‘What are Archives?’
  • Rare or distinctive books or ephemera that are not currently held in our collections and support the collecting areas listed in the Collections Guidelines on our website
  • Rare maps that are not currently held in our collections and support the collecting areas listed in the Collections Guidelines on our website
  • Locally significant collections and materials, such as BC small, fine, or private press and self-published books or ephemera, including Zines

If you have books which you want to donate and which do not meet the criteria above, you may want to consider checking the organizations below for their current book acceptance policies:

If you have archives which you want to donate and which do not meet the criteria above, you may want to consider another archival repository that collects materials related to the location or subject of your materials. Please find a directory of archives in British Columbia here:

If you have family archives which do not meet the criteria above, but which you may want to preserve for future generations, please see this resource from the National Archives in the United States on Preserving Family Archives:

Acceptance guidelines

Gifts of materials are considered by RBSC archivists and/or librarians in consultation with the branch head, as well as appropriate subject librarians or faculty/community members as needed. Any decision to accept or decline a potential gift will be informed by the Library’s collection policies and practices and by the University’s current and anticipated curriculum and research needs.

Among the criteria used to determine acceptability are:

  • whether the prospective donations fall within the scope of RBSC’s collections
  • whether the prospective donations duplicate materials already held by RBSC or the UBC Library
  • whether the prospective donations support the current or emerging teaching, learning and research needs of the University
  • physical condition
  • processing and maintenance costs
  • processing and storage space availability
  • restrictions or requirements, if any, which prospective donors wish to place on the disposition and use of the material offered

Materials we generally do not accept include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Material which does not support teaching and research at the University
  • Material in poor condition or requiring special conservation measures
  • Runs of popular periodicals (newspapers and magazines) and single issues of periodicals, unless they fill gaps in our current collection
  • Large sets of collected works
  • Material that duplicates what is already in the collection
  • Photocopies/facsimiles of original materials

Donation procedures

  • A description of the material being offered for consideration is required.
    • For books, a list of books including authors, titles, publishers, and publication dates
    • For archival materials, information about the creator(s) of the materials and any other relevant context, a broad description of the types of materials (i.e., correspondence, photographs, digital files), the date range of the materials, the physical condition of the materials, and if applicable, the total size of the donation (i.e., 3 files or 1 banker’s box)
  • Only the material appropriate for the collection will be accepted.
  • In some instances, a visit will be made to view the materials.
  • If the material is accepted for consideration, arrangements will be made with the donor to physically transfer the material to the library.
  • Upon receipt of the material, a Gift-in-Kind donation form will be completed.
  • The Library may request donor support to help defray the costs of shipping, appraisal, cataloguing, processing, preservation and reformatting (for example, conversion from an archaic digital format to one which is currently supported).
  • Gifts accepted by UBC Library become the property of UBC, under the stewardship of UBC Library. In accordance with existing University policies, we reserve the right to determine retention, disposition, location, treatment, and other considerations related to use of the material.

Contact information

Questions about archival materials

Krisztina Laszlo, Archivist

604 822-2232

Claire Malek, Archivist

604 822-6430

Questions about books and maps

Chelsea Shriver, Librarian

(604) 822-0645

For advice on making monetary gifts, contact the Library Development Office.

Unfortunately, RBSC is not able to provide monetary appraisals for materials in personal collections. If you would like to know more about books in your collection, you may want to consult the guide Your Old Books, assembled by the Rare Book and Manuscript Division of the American Library Association.