StaffGuide: Cataloging and Acquisitions

Gifts Overview

Please note: we are temporarily not accepting gift-in-kind donations until the summer 2024 completion of the Mullins Library renovation. Keep up with our progress by visiting our blog, 365 McIlroy.

Gift-in-Kind Policy

Thank you for your interest in donating materials to the University Libraries. The mission of the University Libraries is to provide access to information that will support and foster creativity, study, teaching, and research for the University of Arkansas campus community.

The Libraries do not accept walk-in donations or unapproved drop-offs at any of our facilities due to limited space and the high cost of sorting, reviewing, and processing donated materials. We consider only gifts-in-kind that relate to our mission and curriculum.

To see if your potential contribution fits into our collections plan, simply print and fill out this form and send it to us to start the process. You will be prompted to provide a list of titles, authors, year of publication, and edition to aid in our selection, as well as an estimate of the value of the potential materials.

If we determine we can accept your donated materials, once donated, the materials become the property of the University Libraries. Donated materials may be used or displayed in public or staff areas, put in storage, transferred to another unit within the university, sold, discarded, or donated to another institution, organization, or individual in accordance with Arkansas and university rules, guidelines, and laws.

Tips and Information

Items the Libraries are interested in adding to our collection include but are not limited to:

  • Titles written by University of Arkansas faculty and alumni
  • Titles about Arkansas and written by Arkansas authors
  • Titles to be used to support a specific class
  • Musical scores
  • Fiction or non-fiction published within the last five years

Although exceptions may be made for special circumstances, we usually do not accept:

  • Textbooks
  • Popular fiction paperbacks
  • Popular magazines
  • Incomplete runs and single issues of periodicals/journals/magazines
  • Multi-volume general topic encyclopedia sets (i.e. Britannica, World Books, etc.)
  • Titles we already own (duplicates)
  • Titles in poor condition; materials that show signs of mold, infestation, or significant degradation, or contain excessive highlighting or stains
  • VHS tapes, audio cassettes, computer software, or other obsolete media


The appraisal or establishment of an item’s value for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor, as are appraisal costs. Because the Internal Revenue Service regards the University Libraries as an interested party, we are unable to provide appraisals, but may be able to assist you in identifying an appraiser.

Two useful IRS publications are:

For more information on valuation of donated property contact the Internal Revenue Service or your own tax advisor or attorney. Acceptance of a gift that has been appraised by a third, disinterested party does not imply endorsement of such appraisal by the University Libraries.


If at any time you have questions, need help, or want to discuss your potential donation, feel free to reach out to the University Libraries’ Office of Development by calling 479-575-6455 or email

Gift-in-Kind Processing Workflows

First point of contact: Development Office (preferred)

When reasonable, the first point of contact for books or other physical materials donation should be the Development Office. Potential donors are encouraged to initiate the donation process using the online Gift-in-Kind Donation form (

  1. The Development Office is contacted regarding a potential donation via online submission, communications with administration/faculty/community in general, or User Services.

  1. The Development Office verifies that the donation form is complete. Based on the items listed for donation, the Development Office contacts the appropriate subject selector(s) to review the list of items for potential addition to the libraries collections.

  1. The Development Office informs the donor which items have been chosen by the subject selector(s), including the Content Services (CS) gifts processor in the communication. If the donation is large, the Development Office, CS gifts processor, and shipping department work conjointly to arrange for delivery. If a donor prefers to drop off items at the User Services desk, the CS gifts processor will arrange to meet the donor or inform User Services so the gift will not be mistaken as a walk-in donation and be rejected.

  1. A copy of the donation form, list of items selected, and preferred name for an electronic bookplate (if determined to be appropriate), is emailed to the CS gifts processor.

  1. The Development Office will mail the donor a letter of acknowledgement.

  1. The CS gifts processor will process gifts as listed in the last section of this document, “First point of contact/general process: Content Services.”

First point of contact: Subject Selectors

Subject selectors may be contacted directly from professors or members of the community regarding a potential donation. If a potential donation is large (5o items or more), subject selectors are encouraged to inform the Development Office so that a relationship may be established.

Depending on the situation and relationship with a donor, selectors may wish to employ different methods of accepting gifts. Regardless of the method, it is requested that selectors obtain a completed Gift-in-Kind Donation form and pre-select materials as much as possible.

  1. Subject selectors are contacted directly regarding potential donations. Selectors may opt to direct donors to the online Gift-in-Kind Donation form to initiate the process through the Development Office. Or, if preferred, they may choose to work directly with donors using one of the pre-select options below:

  1. Pre-select Option 1: Selector reviews the offered donation in person and selects titles to be added to the libraries collections.  Selector ensures a donation form is completed. However, a list of the titles accepted is not required. A statement, such as “Selected in person” or something similar, may be written on the donor form so that the CS gifts processor knows the items have gone through the selection process. Indicate on the form if an electronic bookplate is to be added to cataloged records. Give the completed form to the CS gifts processor, who will scan a copy for personal files and pass on the original to the Development Office.

  1. Pre-select Option 2: Selector asks the donor to complete the Gift-in-Kind donation form and to provide an itemized list of items the donor wishes to offer. The selector highlights (or otherwise notes) which items the libraries wish to accept. The selector indicates on the form if an electronic bookplate is to be added to cataloged records. The completed donor form is given to the CS gifts processor, who will scan a copy for personal files and pass on the original to the Development Office.

  1. Selector arranges for delivery or pickup, enlisting the help of the CS gifts processor and/or shipping department as needed. Selector indicates in some manner (flags, stacks, etc.) the preferred location for cataloged items (i.e., MAIN, LINX, FAL, CHEM, PHYS, LRC) so that the CS gifts processor can passed that information on to the cataloger.

  1. Post-delivery option 1: Pre-sort selected items based on location for the title once cataloged (i.e. MAIN, LINX, other library, or offer to Better World Books if upon further review decide not to add). The CS gifts processor will search the catalog to determine if the library already owns the item. If the libraries do not own the title or the item meets other criteria as outlined in last section, “First point of contact/general process: Content Services”, the gift is given to the copy cataloger (including a flag for location and bookplate information if applicable).

  1. Post-delivery option 2: All material from a donation is given to the CS gifts processor. The CS gifts processor searches the catalog to see if the libraries own the title. Items that meet criteria outlined in the last section, “First point of contact/general process: Content Services”, will automatically be given to the copy cataloger to add. For the remaining titles, selectors will be contacted to determine desired locations for the titles.

*Some selectors may choose to search the catalog themselves (or enlist the help of grad assistants) at the time of the selection process or after receiving items. Please feel free, just let the CS gifts processor know so efforts are not duplicated.


*Bookplates: While the option to request an electronic bookplate is no longer available on the donation form, the opportunity to include one is still available and left to the discretion of subject selectors. If selectors believe the gift warrants such recognition, and has received permission from the donor, please include the preferred name to be used on the Gifts-in-Kind form. The field will continue to start with “Bookplate: Donor Name” for searchablility and distinction from the Celebration Bookplate program.

First point of contact: User Services

  1. Walk-in donations are no longer accepted. Instead, User Services should provide a copy of the Gift-in-Kind policy to a potential donor, highlighting the online link to start the donation process. If a potential donor seems hesitant or resistant, User Services may offer to contact someone in the Development Office.

  1. Items left in book drops or personal copies of discontinued reserves, which professors no longer want, may be given to the Content Services gifts processor along with a note indicating the gifts’ origins.

First point of contact/general process: Content Services (includes items received via mail, book drop, or unclaimed old reserves)

  1. The Content Services (CS) gifts processor records basic information in a personal spreadsheet, such as name of donor and number of items given, to track “work done” for annual statistics.

  1. If there is an identifiable donor with contact information but no accompanying completed donation form, the CS gifts processor will fill out the Gift-in-Kind donation form with information provided on the envelope/enclosed letters. The completed donation form and scanned copies of accompanying letters are saved as pdfs and emailed to the Development Office. If there is no identifiable donor with contact information, the Development Office is not informed of the gift. The Development Office will send a letter of acknowledgement if a value is provided for a donation. The Development Office may also choose to send an acknowledgement letter to an identifiable donor and provide the donor with additional information on how to donate online for future gifts.

  1. Individual items are searched in the catalog to see if the libraries (not including Crystal Bridges) already owns them. Gifts already owned are shipped to Better World Books (if items meets BWB qualifications), are added to compact storage for potential third-party vendors, or recycled.

*Exception: If a title has been checked out more than 10 times, at least once in the past 5 years, a second copy is added. This does not apply to former reserve titles that are no longer used for class. These titles go to the appropriate subject selector for decision.

*Exception: If we have a title in our collection, but our only holding is non-circulating (e.g. Special Collections, Reserves), a second copy is added to MAIN or LINX.

  1. Serials: If a donation is primarily serials, the serials gifts processor will be the primary contact, will search the catalog to determine if the libraries owns the item, and will contact the appropriate subject selector for determination if the item is not in the collection. For donations of mixed formats, the CS gifts processor is the primary point of contact, who will then coordinate work with the serials gifts processor for gifts handling.

  1. Some items from repeat donors (e.g. Jacob Adler, Japan Library, books as part of a series) are automatically added if we have accepted the gifts in the past.

  1. Items in poor condition with many OCLC holdings are recycled.

  1. Items that are potentially rare (very few OCLC holdings) or items with an Arkansas subject or author are given to Joshua Youngblood to determine if they should be added to Special Collections or Arkansas Collections.

  1. Remaining titles that do not meet previous conditions are searched in OCLC to determine call numbers so that the appropriate subject selector may be identified. Subject selectors are email with book/serial information (if just a few items) or are informed that there are several items for them to review. Selector determines if item(s) should be added to MAIN, LINX, or other library, or given to Better World Books (if it qualifies). *If not specified, the default location for items added to the collection is LINX.

  1. Items are given to the copy cataloger (flagged with location and electronic bookplate information, if applicable) or disposed of as requested.