Donation & Gift Policy – General Collections

Queen’s University Library’s rich and deep collections are central to the academic enterprise. Students and faculty place a high value on the resources we provide to support their learning, teaching and research. From a collection of six volumes donated in 1840 and now housed in Special Collections, our physical holdings have grown to include over 2.2 million items.

The Library welcomes gifts-in-kind that meet our acceptance guidelines for rare and unique items. Please see Special Collections and Archives for more information on donating to our University Archives or W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

Additions to the general collections are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and take into account the anticipated costs borne by the library to process and preserve the items. Patrons may wish to consult the following links for options on donating used book collections:

Acceptance Guidelines

The Library will consider accepting gifts that comply with its collection development policies. Of primary interest are potential gifts which are unique, rare and/or have significant provenance, or those that complete existing collections.

The Library will consider accepting gifts-in-kind according to the following criteria:

  • The prospective gift enhances the Library’s collections and aligns with the University’s learning, teaching, and research priorities.
  • The prospective gift enhances the unique and noteworthy holdings of the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections.
  • The prospective gift augments collections of depth.
  • The collection has not been simultaneously offered to other institutions.
  • The material is in good physical condition.

Space limitations, conservation and processing costs may preclude acceptance of otherwise desirable gifts, unless adequate funds are also provided for these purposes.

The Library cannot normally accept for the general collection:

  • Materials which duplicate current holdings;
  • Outdated or superseded titles (unless rare);
  • Materials in languages that are not included in the curriculum;
  • Audiovisual material;
  • Photocopies or facsimiles of original materials;
  • Newspapers, popular magazines, single issues of periodicals or broken runs of bound periodicals;
  • Textbooks;
  • Popular trade paperbacks;
  • Gifts-in-Kind with restrictions.


All agreements with potential donors must be made through Information Resources for general collections, or in the case of rare material, the University Archivist.

Before the Library is able to consider gifts of books, the donor must provide a list or inventory of the material offered, including for each item: author, title, publisher, and date of publication. A spreadsheet is preferred.

The donor must arrange for material to be delivered to the Library and the donor agrees to assume the cost of transporting material.

Gifts delivered without prior arrangement or contact with the Library’s Collection Development and Assessment Division will not be accepted or acknowledged.

The Library reserves the right to retain or dispose of gifts, once accepted, as it sees fit. Gifts will be acknowledged through a note in the online catalogue record.

Income Tax Receipts

Receipts for income tax purposes must be requested at the time of donation.

  • Receipts will be issued only for those items retained by the library and with a minimum value of $100;
  • Items are evaluated at fair market value;
  • No tax receipts will be issued for items received as complimentary copies;
  • Revenue Canada requires an external appraisal for gifts likely to have a value of $5,000 or more;
  • External appraisals may be required for some materials, regardless of value.

Gifts will be processed in order of receipt and it may not always be possible to issue a receipt in the same year that the donation is made.

Where an external appraisal is required, or requested by the donor, the donor agrees to pay the cost of the appraisal. If the donation is related to the settlement of an estate, the donor must indicate this when the donation is offered, as more specific Revenue Canada requirements apply.

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