Donations of Library materials policy

Temporary suspension of acceptance of donations or gifts-in-kind to the library
InformationFrom May 15, 2019 to December 31, 2019, the University of Ottawa Library will temporarily suspend acceptance of donated materials to our collections. This will allow library staff to assess and process the significant volume of donations previously received that have yet to be added to the collection. As well, this suspension will allow for a full revision of our donations policy. For any questions, please contact

The Library recognizes and appreciates that members of the University, and the community, are interested in donating publications to the Library collection. However, it is important to recognize that the Library will be selective in what is accepted for the collection, needing to carefully assess any prospective donation in relation to the established scope and parameters for collection development. The analysis of prospective gifts and processing those that are accepted involves a substantial amount of Library resources. Therefore, you are invited to read the following guidelines before contacting us regarding a prospective donation.

After reading the guidelines below, potential donors with materials that meet the criteria are asked to email with a list of titles being offered for donation, before bringing any items to the library. The Library cannot accept any unsolicited donations at any University location.

Acceptance guidelines

  1. In most cases, the Library cannot accept the following types of documents:
    • journals
    • textbooks
    • newspapers
    • trade paperbacks
    • popular magazines such as Maclean's, Time, or National Geographic
  2. The University of Ottawa Library will consider accepting donations of gifts in kind according to the following criteria:
    • that the prospective donation falls within the scope of the Library's collection and aligns with the University's mandate regarding learning, teaching and research;
    • that the donated items do not duplicate materials already held;
    • that the items are of unique and significant value to the collection, in the view of the appropriate librarian;
    • that the University of Ottawa Library is in a position to process and maintain the gift;
    • that the materials are in good physical condition * (see details below);
    • that no restrictions be placed by the prospective donor on the disposition and use of the material offered.
  3. Upon acceptance, gifts in kind are irrevocable and become the property of the University of Ottawa. Donors are required to sign a release form at the time of the donation. The Library reserves the right to dispose of non-retained items in a manner that it deems appropriate. The donor should discuss the disposition of items not retained by the Library.
  4. Tax receipts will be issued for gifts that have a minimum value of $100, but will not necessarily follow in the same year as the donation is made. A tax receipt is issued only for the fair market value of items retained. The donor agrees to accept the evaluation done by the University. If the value of a single item in a donation exceeds $1,000, the donor agrees to pay the cost of an external evaluation.
  5. For large collections of books, the Library would prefer to see the collection before moving material to the Library. A representative from the Library can select material from a list of titles provided by the donor.
  6. Collections from University departments and faculties are not automatically accepted, but need to meet the above selection criteria. For substantial collections, the department or faculty may be asked to bear cost of cataloguing and processing any material added to the collection. This would be discussed and negotiated before the gift is accepted for the collection.
  7. Donations of research materials purchased through a research grant may be accepted as long as they meet the selection criteria above, however they do not qualify for a tax receipt.
  8. The donor assumes the costs of transporting to the University any accepted gifts that are located outside of the National Capital region.

Definition of good physical condition

To ensure a shared understanding of “good physical condition”, this addendum provides additional guidance.

The primary goal is to ensure that the Library accepts items in good physical condition that will not jeopardize the health and safety of staff and users, and does not open the possibility of contamination of the existing collection.

The secondary goal is to provide guidelines to processing and cataloguing staff so that they know when to question the addition of items to the collection, and not process items for health and safety reasons.

Good physical condition = items that do not have any of the following attributes:

  • no sign of mould, including relevant precursors of water damage (visual, physical, odour, etc.)
  • no smell of mould even if there is no visible sign of mould
  • no other odd smells, i.e., smells not normally associated with items in good physical condition
  • no sign of dampness
  • no sign that the paper is very acidic and disintegrating
  • no signs of insect infestation
  • no accumulation of excessive surface dirt or dust

If processing or cataloguing staff receive an item that is not in good physical condition, they will not process it and will notify their supervisor. The item will be kept securely away from staff until appropriate followup is determined.

Rare books and special collections

Fragile physical items may still be accepted, such a items with detached pages, loose boards, broken spines, signs of abrasion, as long as they don’t also show one of the above signs of damage that may lead to health and safety issues.

Revised March 8, 2018

Back to top