Gifts and Donations: Gift Policy Summary


The University of Mississippi Libraries are highly selective in the types of donated materials that we accept to add to the Libraries’ holdings. The Libraries accept scholarly materials that enhance the collections in support of the institution’s teaching and research needs.

a. Types of materials that the Libraries collect:

  1. Scholarly materials that may be appropriate gifts for the general collection include books, journals (see specific guidelines below), manuscripts, compact discs, video recordings, etc. that support the University’s teaching and research needs.
  2. The Department of Archives and Special Collections collects printed works, manuscripts, and other items related in some way to Mississippi or Mississippians. Please refer to Part II of this document for the Special Collections gift policy.
b. Types of materials that the Libraries discourage:
Outdated textbooks (particularly in the sciences), offprints, current newspapers, magazines or loose issues of journals, VHS cassettes, homemade copies in any format and materials in poor condition or heavily underlined are generally not accepted. We do not accept laboratory or repair manuals, workbooks, photocopies, and most artifacts (objects) for the general collection. The Libraries will decline offers of gifts if they unnecessarily duplicate existing holdings, if the subject matter is outside the scope of its collections, or if there are donor restrictions that the Libraries cannot honor.

c. All gifts will be evaluated in light of the following criteria:
d. Because of limited staff availability, the Libraries generally cannot provide the donor with a bibliographic (author/title) list of the materials included in their gift. Donors will be required to fill out a Donor Form (which is appended below) describing the number and type of materials included in the gift. See our staff page to contact the librarian for the subject of the material you are wishing to donate.

e.Individuals or groups within or outside the University community must not accept gifts on behalf of the Libraries without first consulting with the Dean of Libraries.

f.Donors should be aware that all gifts are accepted with the understanding that upon receipt the University becomes the owner of the material and, as such, reserves the right to determine retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations relating to use or disposition including disposal.

g. Appraisals, etc.
Internal Revenue Service rules prohibit the Libraries or the University from providing the donor with a monetary appraisal of the donation. Such appraisals are the responsibility of the donor. If you wish to determine a value for tax purposes, you may retain an independent appraiser to evaluate your collection before donating it to the library. You may be able to determine the value of particular items using one of these Internet sites for rare and used books:
A list of organizations that recommend qualified independent appraisers who will appraise donations for a fee is provided in the Gifts and Donations section of Libraries Web page at the following URL:

h. Acknowledgements
Generally, the Libraries will provide a letter of acknowledgement for accepted gift materials. The letter will include a brief statement describing the number and type of materials included in the gift.

i. Journal subscriptions
The library cannot legally accept ongoing donations of journals received through a membership or a paid personal subscription. Publishers set the price of personal or membership subscriptions with the assumption that they will be used by an individual rather than a potentially large audience at an institution. Regular current use of a personal subscription by an institution could be considered a copyright infringement.

j. Where can you send books and journals that the UM Libraries cannot use?
Overseas libraries may accept recent journals and texts up to eight years old from the donor. For a partial list of contacts for overseas donations, check the following sites:

Local institutions that might take donations of used books and journals:
NOTE: Sometimes there is nothing to do but throw away unwanted books and journals.


The Department of Archives & Special Collections of the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi appreciates your interest in donating materials. Although we welcome potential donations, limited space and staffing have forced us to narrow our collecting scope. Thus, despite a broad collecting interest, certain books and manuscripts potentially valuable in themselves may not fall within our scope.
In considering any gift, please keep in mind the following considerations we use to determine suitability for our collections.

There is no simple formula for determining whether a book or other type of material is rare or valuable, and what might be defined as such for one person or library might not be considered so for another. The selection of non-manuscript materials for the Department of Archives & Special Collections is, therefore, guided by our collecting policy outlined above and the curators’ knowledge and expertise.

Those interested in donating manuscripts, printed books, or material in other formats relating to Mississippi and the American South, please telephone Jennifer Ford, Head of Archives and Special Collections, at the Department of Archives and Special Collections at 662-915-7408 or write to the Department of Archives & Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, University, MS 38677. If possible, we would appreciate complete descriptions of the items and a list of printed books including author, title, date and place of publication, as well as information about the condition of the materials.

Additional information about the Archives and Special Collection may be found on their Web page at


In July 1849, Jacob Thompson, one of the founders of the University of Mississippi and a member of the Board of Trustees, presented a collection of books to the University as a nucleus for a library. With this generous act, Thompson began a tradition of giving to the Library that continues today. The generosity of supportive alumni, friends, professors and students has allowed the University Libraries to grow from the original collection of five hundred items to over a million books by 1999.

1. Monetary gifts to the Libraries

Located on the Oxford campus, the University Libraries, comprising the J. D. Williams Library (including Special Collections) and the Science Library, are an essential resource in the teaching, learning and research missions of the University. The University Libraries use monetary gifts to purchase library materials in diverse formats, to preserve materials we already own, and to purchase equipment and new technology.

An endowment, named in honor of an individual or a family, provides annual income to enhance Library resources and services in ways that go beyond one-time gifts. An endowment can be designated to support a particular area of the Libraries’ collections or a branch library. These gifts provide supplemental, annual funding for the Libraries in perpetuity and are used to enhance Library services and resources. Endowments are truly gifts that live forever.

For Monetary Gifts to the University Libraries, please contact the University Libraries Development Officer, Michael Upton, at 662-915-3027 or by email .

2. Friends of the University of Mississippi Libraries

Friends of the Library is an annual giving club designed to raise private support from alumni and friends of the University. Currently, there are over 500 friends of the library. To become a regular member, simply make an annual donation of $15 to the library. Life memberships are given for gifts of $1000 or more. Benefits of membership include your name on a bookplate in each book you purchase, and your dues go directly into an endowment for book acquisitions.

Patrons interested in giving money to the Libraries are encouraged to contact the Dean of Libraries, Julia Rholes, at 662-915-5672 or through email at or the University Libraries Development Officer, Michael Upton, at 662-915-3027 or by email .

The Libraries will provide a letter of acknowledgement for monetary gifts.

To make a donation, please fill review and fill out the General Collections Donor Form.

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