Book Donations to the Libraries

Hunter College Libraries welcomes gifts of books, manuscripts, and other materials deemed to be within the scope of its collection. Gifts are accepted which meet the collecting guidelines established to support the college teaching and research or to add core material of scholarly research interest.

We are genuinely indebted to all of our donors, who, for a century and a half have generously given books and other library materials that the librarians have subsequently vetted according to the libraries’ needs. While Hunter College welcomes gifts of materials that will significantly advance the scholarly, research, and teaching mission of the college; these works are sometimes books the library already has on the shelves, but in such cases, the donation allows the librarians to either keep the better copy or have two copies of a book where circulation warrants it. As with any library, academic or public, Hunter reserves the right to reject donations, or more likely, give away the portions of the donation that do not fill an immediate need. In fact, many colleges employ a librarian whose entire job is taking care of donations and gifts in such a manner, so great is the number of gift books. Among the gifts Hunter receives might be popular literature or coffee table books not particularly appropriate or useful to our students and faculty. When books are difficult to reconcile with the libraries’ collection policies they must be refused, or, when that is not possible, given to another library for whom the books are a better fit. Part of each subject librarian’s job is to maintain that portion of the collection pertinent to his or her subject and judge donations and gifts accordingly.

One subset of donations not discussed here are those that would be archival, which will be another blog entry. To summarize the difference the “Archives acquires, preserves and gives access to records of enduring value generated by academic departments, administrative offices, faculty, student organizations, and affiliated organizations.” What has been discussed here has been concerned with books that would enter the circulating collections.


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