Donation of books

The William & Mary Libraries book donation policy reflects the realities of managing a large print library collection with a focus on specific needs for relevant materials required by students, faculty, and researchers.  Because of constraints on shelving space, as well as significant costs for evaluating and processing gifts of print materials, the Libraries are typically unable to accept materials for the circulating collections unless prior arrangements have been made between the donor and an acquisitions staff member. 


The Libraries are extremely selective about accepting donations of materials for the general collections.  Below are some brief guidelines for the donation of materials for the general collections:

  • The Libraries do not accept unsolicited donations via drop-off or mail.
  • If you would like to speak with someone about a possible donation, contact the Acquisitions Department ( with more details about the size, scope, and currency of the materials. 
  • If interested, the Acquisitions Department will need a title list (including author, title and publication date) as a preliminary step to deciding whether to accept the collection.  Library staff members will review title lists to determine whether materials meet the needs of the library collection.
  • Gift materials must be relevant works not already held by the Library.  All material must be in excellent condition, with durable bindings, and no brittle, stained, marked, or discolored pages.
  • The Libraries reserve the right to decline material and to determine retention, cataloging treatment, location, and terms of use for the material accepted.  The Library declines offers of gifts if they unnecessarily duplicate existing holdings, if the subject matter is outside the scope of its collections, if the materials are in poor condition, or if there are donor restrictions the Library cannot honor.

If interested in donating rare books or other unique/special materials to Swem Library, please contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090.

Local Places to Donate

A list of alternative sites to consider for donation within the immediate Williamsburg vicinity are:

Other Places to Donate

The following sites provide additional outlets for donating books:


Professional standards and IRS regulations prohibit staff from making monetary appraisals of gifts or assigning a fair market value (FMV) to a donated item or collection. Donors seeking valuations are encouraged to consult with an attorney or tax adviser prior to making donations. The IRS provides useful information, including the publication "Determining the Value of Donated Property." A formal appraisal is required if deductions are sought for any gift valued at $5,000 or more. Independent, qualified appraisers may be found by consulting these sources:

Gift In-Kind Collections

For more information about gift in-kind collections, please review our acceptance policies for appraised collections and for collections valued under $5,000.