Monday, August 18, 2008

Revising the Gift Policy

As part of our continuing response to R2 Consulting's report, we have revised our gift policy and are beginning the process of publicizing it on campus and beyond.

Library gift policies are delicate things. We, like all libraries, value financial and material donations. In fact, before the second world war the gifts were one of the major ways some of the great American libraries were built. But we can't accept every gift, only those that enrich our collection and support the curriculum. How do we do that while not upsetting potential donors and also making efficient use of our staff resources and facilities? It is not always an easy balance to strike. Here are the highlights our current effort to achieve that balance. I would love to hear your thoughts.
  1. We have reversed the priority of our gifts, emphasizing gifts of money rather than gifts of books and other materials.
  2. Nothing changes about gifts of money or about the Book a Year program.
  3. In terms of gifts of materials, we will require that people agree to our guidelines before accepting the gift. If not, we will help them find another library etc,. that may take the gift.
  4. We will no longer create a list of all the items given whether or not they are added to our collection. This becomes the responsibility of the donor. Previously, we devoted a lot of time to making lists for donors.
  5. If we do not add materials to the collection we will offer them to Rebecca Montaner's Book Network Project (Rebecca is a graduate of Rollins) and, if they don't take them, the materials will be discarded. Again, our previous procedures involved long periods of storage, negotiations with multiple used book dealers, attempts to place the books in other libraries, etc. A big investment in time and space.
  6. Currently, when we add a donated book to the collection we add an individualized bookplate that includes the text "Gift of [name of donor]" Again, a huge investment of time. Instead we will now add a generic Olin Library bookplate and a local note in the library's online catalog (MARC field 590) with the same text. These notes would be visible in the catalog whenever anyone views a record and also searchable.
  7. Mary Throumoulos, our Collection development Librarian, will be the point person on these gifts. She and the liaison librarian will decide what gets added to the collection. She will also be the person to suggest other possible recipients of the gift if we cannot take it.
  8. Finally, these are guidelines. We can do something different if it is in the best interests of the College in any particular case. Mary -- with input from me if necessary -- will make these decisions.
These changes are an opportunity for the library to devote staff and space to higher priority tasks. We are very grateful for donations of materials that enrich our collection and further the mission of Rollins College and we will make such donations accessible to the Rollins Community as efficiently as possible. More details are here.


Mark Dahl said...

The R2 consulting report is a really rich document. Thanks for sharing it. There are many parallels between your library's activities and ours. I look forward to reading it in more depth.

-Mark Dahl
Watzek Library
Lewis & Clark College

Mark French said...

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
nice post and thanks for sharing...