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Gift Policy FAQs

Q: How will the library acknowledge my gift?

After the gift has been made and a Deed of Gift form has been signed by the donor and the a library representative, donors will receive an acknowledgement letter. The library typically acknowledges a gift within 30 days of receipt.

Q: Can the library provide an inventory of my gift items?

The library recommends that donors create their own inventory list of items prior to making any donations, as the library will not be able to provide such an inventory list once legal transfer of ownership between the donor and the library has taken place. If donated items are added to the collections, the cataloging will serve as a record, with clear acknowledgement of the gift.

Q: I would like to claim my gift on my taxes. How do I do this?

You may claim the value of your gift on your taxes using IRS Form 8283. If you believe your gift is worth $5,000.00 or more, you must provide a formal appraisal to the Vanderbilt Libraries and file IRS Form 8283.

Donors are encouraged to consult with a tax advisor on what can be claimed legally.

Q: How do I know the value of my gift?

The library encourages donors of gifts-in-kind (valued at $5,000 USD or more) to consider obtaining an appraisal of their gifts for income tax purposes. Because of potential conflict of interest, such appraisals are the responsibility of the donor and must made before the gifts are transferred to the Vanderbilt University Libraries. Donors can find appraisers at such sites as the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, the American Booksellers Association or the American Society of Appraisers.

Q: Can I self-appraise a gift?

It depends on the value of your donation. The donor is encouraged to consult with a tax advisor on the value of donated material and what can be claimed legally. Tax forms and guidelines can be found at the Internal Revenue Service website. The following forms and pamphlets may prove useful:

IRS Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions)
Publications 526 (Charitable Contributions)
Publications 561 (Determining the Value of Donated Property)

Please Note: Cumulative values of donations of the same "like and kind" in a single tax year which reach a total of $500.00 or greater but are less than $5,000.00, can be self-appraised. However, it is your responsibility to provide documentation of the claimed value in the event of an audit by the IRS.

Q: Will my gift be kept together in a designated area of the library?

Gifts are added to the collections with provenance/donor notes in the cataloging, but they are not shelved separately.

Q. How else can I support the libraries?

Monetary donations can be an excellent way to support our collections, programs, and services. Named endowments can be established for collections or programming. Naming opportunities are available as well. You can create a permanent legacy at Vanderbilt by associating your name with the library. If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities, please contact the university librarian or Nick Perlick for more information.

Please see Giving to the Library for additional information.

Q: Can my items be returned to me if they are not added to the library’s collection?

No, federal law prohibits the return of donated materials once the donation has been made.

Q: What are the types of materials the library generally does not accept?

Popular magazines
Mass Market paperbacks
Publisher’s preview copies
Single issues of periodicals or broken runs of bound periodicals unless they fill gaps in our current collection
Outdated, superseded titles
Outdated media formats such as LPs, cassettes, etc.
Materials which duplicate current holdings
Photocopies/facsimiles of original materials

Q: Why don't you add everything that is donated to the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries?

There are several reasons that we may not add an item to the collection:
The item duplicates material already in the collection;
The item is missing parts (this frequently occurs with donated music);
The item has acidic paper or is in fragile condition;
The item is out-of-scope for the Heard Libraries which focuses primarily on scholarly materials geared towards the courses of study offered at Vanderbilt University.

Q: Can my items be sent to an alternative destination of my choice (if the library doesn’t add them to the collection)?

We try not to accept items that duplicate the collections or do not conform to our collection development policies. If such items are included in a gift, however, donors can feel confident that the library will make reasonable efforts to find appropriate alternative destinations for any donated materials it does not add to its collections.