LSU Libraries
Office of the Dean

LSU Libraries Library Policy Memorandum 13
Revision 2
Approved by Dean's Council, September 10, 2002
Revisions Approved by Dean's Council, August 1, 2007

Subject: Policy and Procedure for Gifts and Exchanges

Purpose: This document (1) states the general policies of the LSU Libraries for gifts and exchanges; and (2) specifies who is responsible for responding to offers of gift and exchange materials for the LSU Libraries' collections.


Gifts are library materials that are obtained free of charge. Gifts may be in any format. They may be solicited or unsolicited.

Exchanges are library materials obtained through cooperative institutional agreements between the LSU Libraries and other libraries, universities or research institutes. There are many types of exchanges. In a simple "one for one" exchange, an LSU serial title is exchanged for a specific serial from another university. Exchange agreements can also result in groups of periodicals, a mix of serials and monographs, or subscriptions or groups of monographs being purchased for the exchange partner.


A. General Policy

It is the policy of the LSU Libraries to encourage donations of materials or monetary gifts for the purchase of materials that meet the Libraries' selection criteria as outlined in its written collection development policies.

Responding to donor inquiries may have a significant effect on public relations and future donations, so it is the Libraries= policy to handle all such inquiries cordially and efficiently. Collection Development and Special Collections staff have primary responsibility for responding to donor inquiries.

Staff working with donors should ensure that the donors understand that:
  • The Libraries accept gift materials with the understanding that those which would enrich its collection will be retained, and others disposed of in an appropriate manner.
  • The Libraries reserve the right to refuse gifts that are inappropriate for the collections. Out-of-date material, duplicates of items for which additional copies are not needed, and material in poor physical condition will not be added to the collection.
  • The Libraries reserve the right to determine the appropriate locations of the materials within the collections and to intershelve gift materials with other materials on the same subject.
B. Responsibility for Accepting Gifts

The Dean of Libraries, the Associate Dean, the Head of Reference & Collection Development Services (for Middleton Library), the Head of Special Collections (for Special Collections) are authorized to accept gifts on behalf of the LSU Libraries. To facilitate day to day operations, the Dean, Associate Dean, and Heads routinely delegate this authority to the Collection Development Coordinators and the Curator and Assistant Curators in Special Collections in their respective areas of responsibility and expertise. The Collection Development Coordinators may in turn delegate responsibility to subject liaisons and the Head of Acquisitions Services for multi-subject donations.

When a proposed gift is substantial in quantity or value, controversial in nature or source, or involves making a commitment of some type on behalf of the Libraries, all these staff must consult with the Dean and Associate Dean before proceeding with the donation. If the proposed gift involves electronic resources, staff must follow the provisions set forth in LPM 7, Criteria and Guidelines for Acquiring and Providing Access to Electronic Resources.

Gift materials falling within the scope of the collecting policies of the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, the Rare Book Collection, or the McIlhenny Collection must be offered to those areas before they may be selected for other collections.

Gift international newspapers and some magazines are not reviewed but are retained for the Acurrent six months only in the International Newspapers Area of Current Periodicals and Newspapers room.

Library staff other than those mentioned above may not accept gifts on behalf of the LSU Libraries and should refer potential donors to appropriate staff as noted above. The person making the referral should inform the appropriate staff member of the potential donor's name and contact information and should also give the potential donor the appropriate staff member's name, their position title, and contact information.

C. Acknowledgment, Gift Agreements, and Evaluation

It is important that all gifts be properly acknowledged. For most gifts proper acknowledgement will be a thank-you letter to the donor from the Dean and/or the staff member accepting the gift. Staff should report gifts to the office of the Dean. Whenever possible staff should obtain a signed gift agreement from the donor, but for gifts with an estimated value of less than $500, the thank-you letter may function as a record of the gift. Gift agreements become part of the Libraries' permanent files.

Libraries staff do not provide appraisals of donations for donors. Libraries staff may provide reference assistance to donors in using standard sources related to valuation of library materials (e.g. Books in Print, American Book Prices Current, dealer's catalogs,, etc.)

If donors request information about taxes, staff must advise them to seek advice from their accountant or attorney. Staff may inform donors that IRS regulations do not require appraisals for charitable contributions valued at less than $5,000 per item, or per collection of similar items.

D. Other Information

Academic Department Purchases for the LSU Libraries: Departments may transfer funds into library accounts on a one-time basis or agree to subscribe to serials. In the latter case, the library will annually prepare an Internal Transmittal form and bill the academic department for the subscription payment. Inquiries should be directed to the appropriate Collection Development Coordinator or the Head of Reference & Collection Development Services.

Monetary Donations for Library Materials: Donors who want to know how to make monetary donations for library materials should be referred to the Associate Dean of Libraries. Information about giving to the Libraries is also available on the web at


The libraries strive to maintain as balanced an exchange program as is possible. A staff member in Serial Services manages the program, by:
  • referring new titles offered for exchange to the appropriate subject liaison and recording and implementing the liaison's decision;
  • corresponding with exchange partners to set up exchanges and resolve problems, including discontinuing exchanges when partners are no longer willing or able to participate.
Information and a form for requesting a possible exchange is on the web at