Policy on Gifts of Research Collection Materials

Last Revised June 1, 2023

1. The New York Public Library’s renowned general and special collections have been built by strategic acquisitions and generous donations. All offers to donate research materials are assessed according to how well a potential donation would fit within the Library’s collecting scope, as defined by its current Collection Development Policy, as well as other factors such as duplication of existing holdings and the cost of processing,  conservation, and long-term storage.

Please do not send materials without first emailing gifts@nypl.org. The Library reserves  the right to dispose of unsolicited materials in any manner it deems appropriate without  notice. 

2. Please note that the Library is unable to accept all materials offered to it. Donors who have books that are in good condition that they think would be appropriate for the Library’s circulating collections should contact their local branch.

3. Materials accepted by the Library become the absolute and unconditional property of the Library and cannot be returned to the donor for any reason. Once the Library takes possession of an item, the Library is free to make all decisions regarding that item,  including with respect to the retention, storage, processing, use, and disposition of that  item. In accordance with the Library's standard policies, Donors are granted the same  right to access and use materials they have donated as other members of the public  (i.e., materials may be accessed after they have been processed, during normal  business hours, and in accordance with the Library's then-current rules and  regulations). Please note that it is the Library’s policy not to accept materials “on  deposit” or “on loan.” 

4. The Library requests that when the donor owns a copyright interest in the donated materials, the donor assigns their copyright interests to the Library so that the Library may make broad use of the donated materials to advance its mission. In cases where  copyright interests are owned by third parties and/or not transferrable to the Library, it  is understood that the Library may nonetheless use the materials in accordance with  copyright law. Any agreed-upon restrictions on such use shall be documented as set  forth in Section 5 herein.

5. All donations of research collection materials shall be documented by an agreement signed by the donor and the Library or letter of acknowledgement, as determined by the Library.

Tax Considerations 

A. The Library cannot advise prospective donors about legal, tax or financial matters. All prospective donors are encouraged to consult with their own legal, tax and/or financial advisers before making a gift to NYPL.

B. Donors are responsible for valuing donated property. The Library endeavors to acknowledge donations of property valued at $250 or more with a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such property. The Library will not confirm the value  of the property that has been donated. 

C. The Library will sign forms related to the tax-deductibility of a donation (e.g., IRS Form 8283) upon request. Such forms should be presented to the Library at the time of the donation or promptly thereafter. Note that donations of items valued at over  $5,000 may require an appraisal by a “Qualified Appraiser.” The Library does not pay  for such appraisals, nor does it review, validate or authenticate the validity of such  appraisals, or otherwise opine as to or confirm the value of the donated property. All  appraisals must be completed before the donor’s transfer of the property to the Library. 

The purpose of this Policy is to provide guidance to prospective donors concerning gifts of research collection materials. Nothing in this Policy shall be deemed to constitute financial, tax or legal advice, and the Library strongly urges donors and prospective donors to seek advice and assistance from their own professional advisors. Nothing in this Policy is intended to be construed, or shall be deemed to create, any right or remedy in any third party, including but not limited to any donor or any individual affiliated with the Library.