Gifts of Books, Journals & Audio/Visual Materials

The Carnegie Mellon University Library collection is developed not only through purchase, but also through the highly selective acceptance of suitable gifts. Gift materials are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the University Libraries and may be disposed of in any way the library deems appropriate. In addition, the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries may ask to review material prior to acceptance and must reserve the right to refuse an offer of material that is already held in the collections or that does not meet collection needs. 

The Carnegie Mellon University Libraries adds selected donated items to the collection and all such additions are solely at the discretion of the subject specialist librarians or the Dean of the Libraries.

Gift materials whose subject and treatment fall within the scope of the library collection are evaluated according to established collection development policies and procedures. Gifts of archival materials should be directed to the University Archives. The University Archives phone number is, 412-268-5021.

The Carnegie Mellon University Libraries will normally not add the following types of donations to the collection:

  • Materials whose subject matter or presentation is outside the scope of the collection.
  • Outdated or superseded materials (generally 5 years old or older; especially textbooks, VHS tapes, phonograph records, and cassette tapes).
  • Journal issues and volumes except under special circumstances.
  • Materials in poor physical condition.
  • Materials which duplicate current holdings.
  • Materials subject to any restrictions requested by the donor.

The libraries request that donors deliver gift materials to one of the three University Libraries. For the Qatar campus library, please contact; other policies may apply*. If this is impractical, prospective donors may make alternative arrangements with the Gifts Coordinator, Acquisitions Department, Hunt Library, 412-268-2449. 

The IRS requires a formal appraisal of gifts valued over $5,000 in order for the gift to be eligible for tax deductions. The appraisal must be completed within sixty days before or after the date on which the donation is made. To apply for a federal tax deduction, the donor must also complete and file IRS Form 8283. Note that irrespective of the gift’s value, IRS Form 8283 is required to qualify for a tax deduction. Form 8283 can be found online.

By law, CMU Libraries staff cannot provide tax or legal advice or appraise the financial value of a gift or collection; nor can CMU Libraries staff recommend an appraiser. For appraisals documenting charitable contributions, the appraiser cannot be the dealer who sold the material(s) to the donor. For a list of regional appraisers, see the directory of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA).


Special Collections

For criteria guiding donations to Special Collections, see the collection development strategy.