The Wellesley College Library's collections, dating to the founding of the College, are unusually rich, providing students and faculty with access to both the most current information sources and formats, as well as to retrospective print collections. These form a foundation for in-depth study in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. While the primary goal of collection building is curriculum support, we also recognize the importance of the College"s role in the network of scholarly information sources.

I. Guidelines and Goals for Accepting Gifts
II. Process for Accepting Gifts
III. Process for Evaluating Gifts
IV. Disposition of Gift Materials

In addition to the general circulating collections of the Margaret Clapp Library and the department libraries (music, art, science and astronomy), specialized resources exist in the Archives and Special Collections.

  • The Archives house the official records of the College as well as other College-related materials worthy of preservation due to their enduring legal or historical value. This collection has been built entirely by deposit or donation.
  • Special Collections house manuscripts and rare, valuable and limited edition books. Among its outstanding collections are the Durant Collection, the English Poetry Collection, the Browning Collection and the Book Arts Collection. While the collections are developed through acquisitions, the resources available are quite limited and, thus, gifts constitute an important source of new accessions.


I. Guidelines and Goals for Accepting Gifts

Due to the high costs of managing the gift process, the Library's goal in accepting gifts is to acquire only materials which are highly relevant to the institution's needs. All potential gifts will be evaluated in terms of the collection development goals of the Library. These include:

  • Supporting the current and evolving curriculum
  • Supporting the basic research needs of faculty and students
  • Maintaining older collections of depth

II. Process for Accepting Gifts

1. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for following the overall Wellesley College Policy on Gifts of Tangible Property. See "I. Responsibility and Procedure for Acceptance of Gifts."

2. All offers of donations to the Library are referred to the Chief Information Officer or his designee. In the case of gifts destined for the general collections, the primary contact is the Collection Management Officer. The Archivist is primary contact for gifts to the Archives; the Special Collections Librarian, for gifts to the Special Collections.

3. The donor will provide a description of any gift before it can be considered. If a collection is offered, either in whole or in part, a full description (including card files, lists, manifest, etc.) is extremely useful. In the absence of such documentation, the Library may require on-site evaluation of the collection by library staff before a determination to accept can be made

4. The Chief Information Officer will acknowledge all donations. The Archivist and the Special Collections Librarian will send separate acknowledgments for gifts to those collections.

Donors who deliver gifts without prior contact with Library staff will receive a copy of the Library's Gift Acceptance Form as a receipt and interim record of the transfer of ownership.

5. The Library will not accept gifts on which a donor places restrictions that will negatively affect the use of the materials.

6. If, on subsequent evaluation, subject specialists determine material to be inappropriate, it will not be added to the collections, but will be disposed of as described in section IV below.

III. Process for Evaluating Gifts

1. All gifts are to be evaluated in light of the following criteria

  • ability to add depth or breadth to the existing collections
  • support of overall collection development priorities
  • relevance of content
  • physical condition

2. The Library will not accept gifts when their physical condition does not allow normal library shelving and use.  In some rare cases the Library may accept books of sufficiently important content or provenance even if they require professional treatment to protect and preserve them. In these cases, the donor may be asked to provide the resources for this treatment.

3. Subject specialist librarians, charged with management of specific subject collections, will evaluate gifts accepted for the general collections. They will make the final decision on adding unique or additional copies to the collections.

4. The Archivist and Special Collections Librarian will evaluate all potential donations to their collections.

5. When specialized knowledge is required to evaluate a gift, library staff may consult with members of the faculty or others with appropriate expertise.

IV. Disposition of Gift Materials 

1. With the exception of some archival materials, all gifts added to the collection will be cataloged and listed in the Library's online public catalog.

2. Since all gift materials that are added to the general collections are shelved in the appropriate subject classification, the Library cannot maintain separate named collections.

3. Gifts that are not added to the collection may be disposed of in one of the following ways:

  • If it has been arranged in advance, they may be returned to donor.
  • If of artifactual value, they may be sold to a specialty book dealer, and the proceeds used to support future acquisitions.
  • In cases where other institutions have teaching or collecting goals which the gift more appropriately supports, these institutions may be offered the gift. The first preference is to place the item in one of the member libraries of the Boston Library Consortium, to which Wellesley College belongs.
  • All other unaccessioned gifts will be sold, at nominal prices, at the periodic books sales held for the students and faculty of the College. The proceeds will be used to support future acquisitions.

4. Donors who offer items or collections that Wellesley cannot accept may be referred to other libraries or to book donation programs such as the following: