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UCL Library Services Donations Policy

UCL Library Services Donations Policy explains how we manage donation offers and is for anyone considering offering material to the library. It includes contact details for relevant staff.

We are fortunate to receive many donation offers every year. UCL Library’s Collections have been greatly enriched by donations, helping to ensure that they continue to make an important contribution to teaching, learning and research activities at UCL and to the curation of the nation’s intellectual heritage.

However, we do have to manage our limited space, staff time and budget as effectively as possible to maintain the balance between teaching and research activities; and ensure long-term sustainability for our Collections. This means that unfortunately we are unable to accept all material offered to us.

We consider all donation offers in line with our Collection Strategy Framework.

Potential donors should note the following:

  • The term “donations” is used to refer to any material offered to the library for addition to its collections and includes gifts and bequests.
  • All donations become the absolute and exclusive property of the Library and may be disposed of if they cease to be of value to the Library’s collections. There is no guarantee that the material will be held in perpetuity as it is possible that other factors may affect decisions made now e.g. change of collection priorities.
  • We will not normally accept material that duplicates our print or digital holdings (unless it is in current high demand) – please check UCL Explore if possible.
  • We cannot undertake large scale checking of lists of potential donations.
  • We do not accept material in poor physical condition.
  • The Library reserves the right to dispose of printed material that is in poor physical condition, duplicates existing stock, falls outside the scope of the Collection Development Policy or is otherwise superfluous to requirements.
  • The Library reserves the right to decide how to dispose of unwanted material, which may include by sale or gift, by donation to another institution, or disposal in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • Donations accepted by the Library will not normally be retained as a discrete collection but will be added to the most appropriate library or subject collection in order to best facilitate access for Library users. The Library will add donated material to its online catalogue as resources permit.
  • We are normally unable to tell donors about the progress of their gifts, or respond to requests to speed up the processing or cataloguing of individual donations.
  • We may be unable to accept substantial donations where funding cannot be identified in advance to pay for delivery to the library and subsequent cataloguing and processing.

There is additional information for donors of material that may fall into the Special Collections category.

Where we are unable to accept donations, we are happy to advise on potential alternative homes for the material.

Interest in donating

If you are interested in donating material to UCL Library Services, please contact the relevant Subject Liaison Librarian or Site Librarian in the first instance. It is useful to provide description and list of the material offered.


Last update: January 2021