Donations of Library materials policy

Temporary suspension of acceptance of donations or gifts-in-kind to the library
InformationThe University of Ottawa Library has temporarily suspended acceptance of donated materials to our collections until further notice. 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. 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. The analysis of prospective Gifts-In-Kind and processing those that are accepted involves a substantial amount of Library resources, thus the Library is very selective in what is accepted into the collection via donation, in order to allow us to focus on items that provide the most value to our collection.

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. The Library cannot accept any unsolicited Gifts-in-Kind donations at any University location.

Types of Materials

The types of material that may be considered for acceptance are:

  • rare books, rare prints, and rare archival materials
  • unique items (ie. materials that are otherwise difficult for us to acquire through regular acquisitions channels) that support teaching and research and that add significant value to the collection

We do not accept:

  • materials that can easily be obtained through typical acquisitions processes
  • journals
  • textbooks
  • newspapers
  • trade paperbacks
  • print/analogue data resources
  • popular magazines such as Maclean's, Time, or National Geographic

Acceptance guidelines

The University of Ottawa Library will consider accepting donations of gifts in kind according to the following criteria:

  • that the items are of unique and significant value to the collection and cannot be easily obtained through typical acquisitions processes; in light of the university’s strategic priority of maintaining and enhancing la Francophonie, special attention will be given to French language materials;
  • 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 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.


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.

Tax receipts, for the fair market value of items retained, will only be issued for gifts that have a minimum value of $500 (per item) and will not necessarily be produced in the same year as the donation is made. 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. Donations of research materials purchased through a research grant do not qualify for a tax receipt.

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.

The donor assumes the costs of transporting to the University any accepted gifts.

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:

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

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

Revised October 2019

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