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Gifts to the Libraries

The George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida form the largest library system in the state of Florida. Since 1905, the libraries have acquired, organized, preserved and made resources freely available to students and scholars. The libraries are repositories for published and unpublished work which ought to be saved for current and future use, and their growth directly reflects the University of Florida's emergence as a comprehensive educational and research institution. The academic program's vitality and the excellence of the faculty and students increasingly challenge the libraries to provide resources made available in at least fifty different languages, over periods of time counted in centuries, and in an extraordinary number of formats, ranging from holograph manuscripts and letters, printed books and journals, photographs, sound recordings, prints, maps, microfilm, videos, and computer files.

Every library wants to excel in placing a title in the hands of a user, and every library is frustrated at times because of the inherent impossibility of anticipating and collecting everything needed. Libraries make purchases, obtain materials through exchange programs, and rely on other libraries to lend materials, but gifts offer an unusually important opportunity to broaden, enrich, and rebuild its collections. The George A. Smathers Libraries encourage and welcome offers of gifts.

Gift Definition

A gift is defined as library materials offered by a known person, corporation, or agency which the library may choose to accept or reject.

The Libraries and the Donor

Donors, especially in an academic community setting, are often knowledgeable collectors or, even more frequently, scholars who have systematically collected important publications. The donor's collection will often be more specialized and contain titles carefully selected and built over many years. Donated collections often complement the library's holdings and add titles which cannot be easily found in the out of print market.

A donor's motivation for offering gifts varies. It may be simply time to clean out the shelves or attic, or a desire to help students and scholars, or a change in life—retirement, moving to another location, a death in the family. Whatever the reason, and it is not necessary for the libraries to know, the approach is made with expectations and every library employee is prepare to sensitively assist a donor.

By offering a gift, the donor is initiating a relationship with the libraries. It may be short term and involve only a few items or it may be the first step in a long term relationship involving large numbers of separate gifts, establishing endowments, donating funds to purchase particular titles, turning over personal papers, offering to act as a spokes person for the library, cultivating other potential donors, and so forth. The initial impression, therefore, is important and library staff should always interact with donors as if the relationship will be long term.

When a donor offers a gift, he or she expects several things of the person to whom the offer is made: 1) interest in the gift; 2) interest in the donor; and 3) an offer to help the donor carry out the process of making the gift.

Once a donation is accepted, a donor quite often feels as if he or she has an ongoing commitment to the libraries. Indeed, the libraries do have an ongoing commitment to the donor which involves acknowledgement and, if the donor wishes, a continuing relationship.

The libraries' policy is that all gifts will be acknowledged. The libraries' policy is that all employees be trained to interact with donors and be aware of the various procedures for dealing with gift offers.

Gift Offers

All gifts involve some expenditure of library resources. Even a gift of a few books requires handling and involves substantial library activity prior to reaching a stage where the gift will benefit a user. Consequently, it is important to ascertain the donor's wishes, the nature of the gift, and the gift's potential cost to the library.

Library policy requires that all gift offers be coordinated through the Acquisitions Department--Gifts Section. The libraries will accept all materials given with no restrictions through the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. and delivered or mailed to the libraries. However, when a gift requires library expenditure to be received, such as staff time for transporting, packaging supplies, and postage or unusual processing, such as bookplating and/or creation of item inventories, a review of the collection will be conducted prior to acceptance. The review will be directly proportional to potential library investment in a gift. The libraries require that gifts be reviewed by the appropriate collection manager prior to expending resources to receive the gift or assuming unusual responsibilities in processing a gift.

1. Unrestricted Gifts Delivered to the Libraries:

a. Gift offers are often unsolicited. A donor may walk into any library location and ask the first staff member if the library "wants" the material, or a donor may telephone/write to the library and offer to deliver a gift. In cases where the donor delivers an unrestricted gift, the staff member receiving the gift should ask the donor to read, fill out and sign a "Donor Registry" form. The form should be available at all library locations and all staff members should be trained in its use.
b. The form indicates that the gift will be accepted by the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the libraries and that the libraries may dispose of the gift in whatever manner they choose. This gift is unrestricted. Once the "Donor Registry" form has been signed and the donor thanked, the gift of materials should be handled by procedures issued by the Acquisitions Department--Gifts Unit.
2. Restricted Gifts Delivered to the Libraries:
a. Occasionally, a donor may deliver a restricted gift; i.e., a gift to which the donor has added conditions which limit the libraries' disposition or processing alternatives. Most commonly, the donor seeks assurance that the material will be added to the collection prior to making the gift or that the items be bookplated or that an inventory of titles be created. This is a restricted gift. When any restriction is required by the donor the staff member should reply that library policy stipulates that all restricted gifts have to be reviewed by the appropriate collection manager prior to being accepted and refer the donor to the Acquisitions Department--Gifts Unit. The staff member should not hesitate to put the donor in touch with the Gifts Unit by telephone. While the libraries' policy requires review of restricted gifts, it also encourages staff to assist donors whenever possible.

b. In cases where the donor is well known to the libraries and is working directly with the appropriate collection manager, the collection manager may agree to review the materials at hand, make selections, return the unwanted materials to the donor, ask the donor to complete the "Donor Registry" form, and forward the accepted gift with the completed form to the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit with a request to add the material to the collection. A collection manager may not accept a gift which requires unusual processing on the part of any technical service unit without prior consultation.

3. Routing Gifts Into the Collections
a. Excepting cases in which specific procedures have been put in place, no gifts will be added to the collection without first being routed through the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit. The Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit will maintain a file of agreements governing gifts added to the collection but not routed through the unit.
4. Gift Offers Which Require Library Both Transport Assistance and/or Special Processing:
a. A donor may telephone or write the libraries regarding a gift of materials and request that the gift be picked up or that the cost of delivering the gift to the libraries be underwritten . Occasionally, a friend of the donor (often a faculty member or a student) will contact the libraries. The person dealing with the donor or the contact should gather the following infor mation: the donor's name, address, telephone number, a convenient call back time and, if possible, a rough description of the size and content of the gift and where it is located.

b. This information should be forwarded to the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit. Sometimes speed is essential—this is especially true if the gift contains manuscripts or archival materials which will be destroyed unless an immediate commitment to take them is made—and the person receiving the call should make sure the message gets through. In this circumstance use judgement in reporting an offer: always contact the Gifts Unit and, if you can not reach the unit, contact the appropriate collection manager and/or the Library Development Officer. Under no circumstance should a gift be accepted which commits the libraries to transporting a gift or providing unusual processing before a review is undertaken.

c. Following the receipt of gift information, the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit should contact the appropriate collection manager and the Library Development Officer, if they are not already involved, and work out an review plan in response to the offer. If insufficient information concerning the gift is available, then the Gifts Unit will coordinate the effort to gather sufficient information, including, through the Library Development Officer, information concerning whether the donor is known to the University and/or University of Florida Foundation, Inc.

Gift Reviews

Gift reviews will determine the cost-benefit involved in accepting a gift which requires expenditure to receive or special processing and will consider at least the following questions:

1) will the gift add strength to collections already owned?
2) will the gift substantially duplicate materials already in the collection?
3) will the gift include materials currently demanded or anticipated to be in demand by students and faculty?
4) has the libraries searched for these materials in the market?
5) will the cost of obtaining the gift be substantially less than the cost of purchasing the materials?
6) is the donor giving the materials as an unrestricted gift?
7) has the donor requested bookplating? If so, is a standard gift bookplate requested or a specially designed bookplate requested?
8) has the donor requested a title inventory?
9) are the materials in useable condition?
10) is it likely that this gift will be followed by others which will be important to the libraries?
11) has the donor made other gifts to the libraries?
12) is the donor important to the University, if not the libraries?
13) what is the estimated worth of the gift in the market?
14) if the gift or part of the gift may be sold, will the receipt be worth more than the libraries' investment in receiving the gift?
The review balances the libraries' costs against the gift. For example, a review to determine if the libraries should pick up an unrestricted gift from a professor's office or house located in Gainesville should not be as demanding as a review of a collection, either restricted or unrestricted, located outside of Gainesville. As the cost to the libraries increases or as restrictions are placed on the gift, the review should become more thorough. In the initial review the emphasis should be on the value of the materials to the collections rather than the inherent value of the materials in the market, although the inherent value of the gift will be important to determine before it is acknowledged.

If an inventory of the gift is not available, as is almost always the case, and if the offered gift should be further investigated, then the review should include a visit to the collection by the appropriate collection manager. A visit is almost always in order if the collection is located close-by, for it offers an excellent opportunity to introduce the library to a potential donor. The visit, in addition to evaluating the collection of titles, should also include measuring the materials to be donated in linear feet and an evaluation of the collection's physical condition. If the collection's physical condition is questionable, then a visit by a staff member of the libraries' preservation office should be scheduled.

If the collection is not locally housed and ought to be investigated further, the appropriate collection manager(s) should request travel funds to visit the collection.

Following the gift review, the appropriate collection manager working in collaboration with the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit, the Library Development Officer, and the appropriate technical services units, should complete a brief report on the donor, a description of the collection offered, its importance to the collection, size, location, condition, a rough estimate of its market value, whether any restrictions have been placed on the gift, and a recommendation to accept or reject the gift. Completed reports will be filed in the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit. If receiving the gift entails expenditures normally approved at the Directors level, then the report should be forwarded to the Directors Office.

Gift Acceptance

1. Following review, gifts determined acceptable will be handled as follows:

a. The Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit should coordinate arrangements to pick up unrestricted collections in collaboration with the appropriate collection manager. The effort involved in these pick-ups should be a joint effort; i.e., students or other staff should be lent to the Gifts Unit when assistance is needed.

b. The Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit should coordinate arrangements to pick up unrestricted non-local collections. If the collections require overnight travel, renting trucks, or hiring additional staff, travel requests should be submitted in the normal manner. These pick-ups should, whenever necessary, be a joint effort; i.e., students or other staff should be lent to the Gifts Unit when assistance is needed.

c. The Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit should coordinate plans to accept delivery of collections requiring expenditures by the libraries--shipping, postage, car/truck rental by the donor, customs transfers, and so forth, through normal library procedures.

Gift Rejection

If the gift offered is deemed unacceptable, the Library Development Officer will develop and coordinate a plan to inform the donor of the gift's rejection.

Estimated Gift Values, Acknowledgments, and Gift Records

While the libraries, under federal law, do not appraise the worth of gifts it is important to estimate the gift's approximate value, since a gift's value has important tax consequences and will alter the libraries' acknowledgement. Determining the gift's value for IRS reporting is the donor's responsibility, but the libraries may assist the donor in locating a qualified appraiser. Determining the monetary value of a gift should be primarily the responsibility of the collection manager.

When a gift is accepted the libraries' acknowledgement of the gift accomplishes several functions: 1) it provides the donor and the library with documentation that he or she has made a gift; 2) it documents the libraries agreement that the donor's restrictions, if any, will be honored; 3) it provides the basis for gathering statistics which are reported to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. and other agencies; 4) it provides the donor proof required by the Internal Revenue Service that a charitable gift has been made.

As the value or restrictions placed on the gift increases, the acknowledgement method chosen by the libraries will become more individualized.

1. Acknowledging unrestricted gifts worth less than $500

a. Acknowledgement of unrestricted gifts with an estimated worth less than $500 will be prepared by Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit and delivered to the Library Development Officer. These acknowledgements must contain the donor's name and address and a piece count.

b. Several library units receive unrestricted gifts regularly worth less than $500; e.g., Documents, Special Collections, Directors Office. These gifts may be acknowledged by the receiving unit but piece counts and the donor's name and address records must be maintained by the unit acknowledging the gift and be reported to the Acquisitions Department -Gifts Unit and/or the Library Development Officer upon request.

2. Acknowledging unrestricted gifts worth between $500 and $4,999.
a. If the estimated value of an unrestricted gift is $500 but is less than $5,000, the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit should report the piece count and the donor's name and address to the Library Development Officer who will prepare the acknowledgement. The acknowledgement will include a copy of IRS form 8283 and the accompanying instructions.
3. Acknowledging unrestricted gifts worth more than $5,000.
a. If the gift is estimated to be valued at $5,000 or more, the Library Development Officer will consult with the donor to determine what, if any, arrangements will be made to obtain a qualified appraisal of the gift prior to accepting the gift.

b. The Library Development Officer will negotiate with the donor regarding IRS Form 8283, assist the donor in locating a qualified appraiser, and ensure that the completed forms are routed through the University of Florida Foundation, Inc.

c. The Library Development Officer will be responsible for notifying the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit that a qualified appraisal has been received and registered at the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. In these cases, the Acquisitions Department- Gifts Unit will follow IRS regulations governing handling and disposition of the gift.

4. Acknowledging restricted gifts regardless of value:
a. Acknowledgement of restricted gifts will be the responsibility of the Library Development Officer working in collaboration with the collection manager and the involved library departments or units.

b. If necessary, the Library Development Officer and/or the collection manager will negotiate the wording of the acknowledgement with the donor. A file recording restricted gifts will be maintain by the Library Development Officer with a copy filed in the unit responsible for managing the gift.

In the cases where acceptance of a gift requires a title inventory and/or bookplating, the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit will coordinate implementation. Inventories will normally be undertaken as a collaborative effort between the Acquisitions Department-Gifts Unit, the appropriate collection manager, and the combined staffs. When bookplating is a condition of the gift, the bookplates will be prepared by the Library Development Office, approved by the Preservation Office, inserted in the items by the Acquisitions-Gift Unit, and affixed by the appropriate processing staff.



Short Guide for Handling Gifts to the Libraries


1. A gift is defined as library materials offered by a known person, corporation, or agency which the libraries may choose to accept or reject.

2. An unsolicited receipt is defined as material sent to the libraries by mail for promotional and public relations purposes, material received from an unknown donor, or material given by a donor who requests that no acknowledgement of the gift be sent. Unsolicited receipts are not treated as gifts.

3. An unrestricted gift is a donation of library material delivered to the libraries without conditions; that is, the libraries have no obligation to add the material to the collection or process it in any particular manner.

4. A restricted gift is an offer to make a gift under certain conditions; that is, the gift will be given only if the library agrees to perform in a particular manner. Some common conditions are: 1) the library must promise to add the material to the collection; 2) the library must promise to bookplate the material; 3) the library must promise to pack and deliver the material; 4) the library must promise to tell the donor how much the gift is worth.

Gift Offers

The libraries encourage gifts of library materials and want to develop strong, ongoing donor relationships. All staff members who interact with donors should work hard to be helpful and to create a good impression

1. If you are approached by a potential donor in person, make eye contact, smile, and be positive.

2. If the donor is making an unrestricted gift and has material in hand:

a. take the material
b. ask donor to fill out the donor registry form
c. thank donor, and tell him/her an acknowledgement will be sent
d. give form and materials to your Acquisitions Department Gift Unit.area liaison
3. If a donor is making a restricted gift and has material in hand:
a. ask for donor's name and subject area of gift
b. call in the appropriate collection manager
c. ask the collection manager to come meet the donor
d. If the collection manager is not available call the Acquisitions Department Gift Unit.(2-0355) and put the donor on the phone
e. if you can not reach the Acquisitions Department Gift Unit:
1. tell donor that it is important to discuss restrictions before a gift is accepted
2. that collection manager or Acquisitions Department Gift Unit.will be in contact
3. ask the donor to write down a telephone number where s/he may be reached
4. ask the donor the best time to call her/him back.
5. hank the donor
f. email GIFTS with donor's name, phone number, any information you have about the materials, and the time of contact with the donor.
4. If a donor telephones about making a gift , obtain the following information:
a. donor's name, telephone number, address, and a brief description of the gift-- subject(s) and size
b. tell the donor the collection manager or the Acquisitions Department Gift Unit will be in touch
c. thank the donor for calling
d. send the information via email to GIFTS
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