The University of Colorado Libraries may accept non-monetary gifts-in-kind that significantly contribute to advancing the instructional, learning and research mission of the University. Such gifts-in-kind are often unique, rare or special collections and may include books, maps, media, archives/personal papers, artifacts, digital content and other scholarly material. Potential donations must comply with University requirements and guidelines. Materials that duplicate current holdings in the general collections are generally not accepted. Once materials are accepted and received, they become the property of the University of Colorado Boulder. Subject to any agreements, the Libraries reserve the right to make all 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 University Libraries.(Approved 5/17/12, rev 8/24/16)


The University Libraries are mindful of the significant resources required for handling, processing, accessioning, cataloging, preserving, storing and making donated materials available to users. Gifts-in-kind materials should meet the Libraries selection criteria and collection policies. Potential donors should supply a list of titles to be donated, which will be reviewed by appropriate subject libraries or Collection Development. 

Factors to be considered for evaluating collections:

  1. Do the materials support teaching and research programs on campus?
  2. Does the donation include items that need special storage and handling?
  3. What are the space requirements and where will the material be housed?
  4. Does the library have the resources available to process the collection? This includes acquisitions processing, preservation review and cataloging.
  5. Are there special technology requirements and support for hosting the collection? For delivering content? For providing access?
  6. Are there other reasons to accept a donation, i.e. famous scholar on campus, potential relationship building for future monetary donations, etc.?
  7. Are there special requirements for collection, i.e. named gifts, limits on use, etc.?
  8. Is the donation attached to a written contract or agreement?

Materials not generally accepted:

  • Titles the Library already owns (unless in high use or an otherwise special edition)
  • Textbooks
  • Popular trade paperbacks
  • Popular magazines
  • Back issues or single issues of periodicals
  • Serials subscriptions
  • Materials in poor condition

Exceptional Gifts-in-Kind

Donations of collections that are exceptional in nature and outside of routine gifts-in-kind must undergo a wider review process. This includes content that may require special handling, non-routine technology support, added costs to acquire or catalog or other additional resources. Such donations must be evaluated in consultation with members from departments or units that will be affected by the potential acquisition, such as Libraries IT, Metadata Services, etc., and will require additional approval by the Libraries management. Some factors for consideration are listed below.

Exceptional gifts-in-kind may include:

  • 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 significant dollar value, over $5,000
  • collections of a foreign language outside of in-house expertise

After all parties have reviewed the potential donation, the subject specialist or department director must write a proposal to be forwarded to the Gifts Team. Final acceptance of an exceptional gift-in-kind must be approved by the Gifts Team.


  • Once an agreement has been reached with a donor to accept a gift, the Donation Review form must be completed and forwarded to Acquisitions. This form provides the information needed for receiving and processing and is needed for the donor thank you letter.
  • A University Gift in Kind (GIK) Acceptance form must be filled out for gifts if the following apply.  Note: It is the responsibility of the donor to obtain an appraisal as applicable.
    • The gift is valued at $5,000 or greater OR
    • The donor wishes to take a tax deduction for gifts under $5,000 OR
    • The gift is an addition to an existing collection OR
    • The gift has a written contract or agreement attached
  • The subject specialist or library official should fill out the form with information from the donor, then send it to the Director of Scholarly Resources Development and the Libraries Budget Officer, who will be responsible for getting the Dean’s and Controller’s signatures. A copy of the signed GIK form will be scanned into a central database and original documents kept on file in Scholarly Resources Development and/or the Dean’s Office files. The University Gift in Kind Acceptance form must be signed by the Controller BEFORE the gift is received on campus.
  • Collection Management staff will prepare the thank you letter to the donor to be sent out from the Dean’s Office. Subject Specialists may also want to send a less formal thank you.


The faculty member or subject specialist works with Acquisitions and the donor to coordinate shipping and insurance. Donors are generally responsible for the cost of shipping and for providing an estimate of the value of the donation. In some cases Collection Development identifies funds to pay for these costs. Local shipping can often be coordinated with the University Distribution Center. 


Preservation reviews the condition of physical materials briefly upon receipt, especially if the material will be stored at the warehouse. A fuller review of individual items will be performed as the materials are processed by Acquisitions. 


Faculty members sponsoring a donation must communicate with Metadata Services to coordinate cataloging, metadata needs or any assistance to be offered by students or staff outside of Metadata Services. Potential timelines for adding the collection to the Library Catalog may require broader discussion. 

Gifts policy last updated July 30, 2020