Gift Policy

Gift Giving

The Cornell University Library welcomes and encourages gifts in support of the University’s programs. Indeed, the Library relies heavily upon donors to help sustain its growth, many of the Library’s most valuable resources and special collections originated in this way. Gifts of money, books, periodicals, equipment, and other research materials contribute to the Library’s development. Modest gifts are much appreciated, as are bequests, endowments, and larger contributions.

In preparation for receiving gifts of books or other materials (referred to as gift-in-kind), the Library encourages donors to provide a list of materials including the name, dates, and general condition of the material. Because of the complex nature of Cornell’s library system, it is often necessary to impose certain conditions upon the acceptance of gifts. If gifts are accepted it should be understood that, upon receipt, the University becomes the owner of the material and, as such, reserves the right to determine its retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations related to its use, maintenance, or removal. We ask donors to also consider a monetary gift to support processing and the costs of maintaining, over time, the material given to the Library.


The Library encourages donors to consider, for their own interest, obtaining an appraisal of their gifts for income tax purposes. Such appraisals are the responsibility of the donor and should be made, if possible before the gifts are transferred to Cornell in order to establish their fair market value. The Internal Revenue Service considers the Library to be an interested party which therefore precludes appraisals made or financed by Cornell. For this reason, donors must bear the costs of an appraisal, but the costs may be deductible expenses. As income and estate tax laws are subject to frequent revision, Cornell recommends that donors discuss gifts-in-kind appraisals with their attorneys. The Library is willing to help by suggesting appropriate professional appraisers who might be consulted, or by arranging for third-party appraisals after receipt of the gift in the library. The acceptance of a gift that has been appraised by a disinterested party does not in any way imply endorsement of the appraisal by the Library.


The Library acknowledges all gifts it receives. The Cornell University Office of External Relations will send the donor a receipt and a signed copy of IRS form #8283. We also provide gift and/or class credit for gifts-in-kind which include an appraisal or valuation by the donor.