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Donations Policy


The University Library is happy to consider donations of appropriate teaching and research materials subject to the guidelines and conditions outlined below. In all cases, the Library will balance the value of the donation against the costs of cataloguing, processing, storing and conserving the material.

Guidelines for Acceptance of Donations

[Note added September 2021 - The Library is grateful to all those who have made donations which enhanced our teaching and research collections over the years. However, due to the unprecedented level of important monograph donations over the last couple of years, we do not have the staff capacity to consider, acquire or catalogue any additional donations to our standard book collection at present. This position will be re-considered in summer 2024.]

This does not impact on consideration of donations to Special Collections or the University Archive.

1. Items donated should:

  • be consistent with the University’s teaching and research interests and must fall within the scope of the Library’s Resource Development & Management Policy
  • be in good physical condition
  • have a recent publication date or content that is considered to be current; the exception is where the item is considered to have an historical or research value
  • either constitute unique/valuable material not easily accessible from elsewhere or provide additional copies of existing, well-used material which will add value to the working collections
  • The University encourages all academic staff to deposit the final manuscript version of any academic publication written or edited by them in the Research Portal and to donate a copy of any academic publication written or edited by them to the University Library.
  • Materials not generally accepted include: outdated textbooks, newspapers, popular magazines and incomplete journal runs.

Conditions of Acceptance

  1. The Library reserves the right to accept or refuse prospective donations; acceptance is at the discretion of the relevant Subject Librarian.
  2. Except in very exceptional circumstances, it is not possible to accommodate restrictions of any kind from the donor.
  3. Potential donors should be aware that if a donation is accepted by the Library, it will not be possible in most cases to retain it as a discrete collection. With the exception of some valuable or unique donations, material will be dispersed within the existing Library collections, according to classification.
  4. Donations accepted become the exclusive and absolute property of the University and may be disposed of if they cease to be of value to the Library’s collections.
  5. The Library can accept no responsibility for valuations or subsequent appraisals of donated material.
  6. The delivery of donated items should be by prior arrangement with the relevant Subject Librarian.

Donation of Journal Volumes

As the availability of electronic journals and pressure on storage space increase, the Library is unlikely to accept previously unsubscribed runs of journals. However, donations which fill gaps in existing print collections will be considered.

Large Donations

  1. In the case of large donations, the donor is responsible for preparing a list of documents for donation.
  2. The Assistant Director (Library Services) should be consulted concerning large/significant donations.

Disposal of Unwanted Items

The Library reserves the right to dispose of donations not required, by any method.

Acknowledgement of gifts

A standard letter of thanks will be sent in acknowledgement of all donations accepted by the University Library. A “gift plate” will normally be placed inside each item to acknowledge the gift. Suitable acknowledgement of larger gifts may be negotiated on a case by case basis.

The Queen’s University Archive

Items relating to the history of Queen’s University Belfast should be offered to the University archive, rather than to the Library. Please contact Ursula Mitchel ( in relation to such items.

Library Services
January 2024