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Gifts of materials

The MIT Libraries welcome gifts that focus on unique or specialized content that aren’t readily available in other collections. Especially desirable are works on little-known topics, materials produced by members of the MIT community, unique items, and small collections of related materials that would enhance our academic collection.

The needs of a university research library are both varied and specific. This may exclude some of the items people often wish to donate. The MIT Libraries do not accept:

  • Textbooks
  • Mass-market paperbacks
  • Books, journals, and magazines that duplicate our holdings or are readily available in other collections
  • Individual issues or small runs of scholarly journal issues
  • Popular magazines (i.e. National Geographic, Smithsonian, etc.)
  • U.S. government publications
  • Materials in poor condition or exhibiting signs of mold or mildew
  • Materials that contain highlighting, underlining, or annotations (unless annotations are of significant scholarly value)
  • Materials in outmoded formats (8-track tapes, 5.25-inch computer disks, LPs, Betamax)
  • Electronic materials requiring dated software/hardware
  • Materials that might cause the library to be liable for copyright infringement (i.e., copied audio and video recordings)

Since MIT was founded, gifts of materials to the MIT Libraries have played a very important role at MIT.  However, for each donation we accept, there are both immediate and long-term expenses to cover processing of the items & and making the items accessible.

If you are considering donating an item to the MIT Libraries, please contact the Gifts Librarian to speak about the usefulness of your proposed gift. We ask that you not send unsolicited books directly to the MIT Libraries without first speaking to the Gifts Librarian. We do not systematically track receipts of unsolicited items, and only very rarely add such items to our collections. To help evaluate proposed donations, the Libraries request that donors provide a list of materials. The Libraries are unable to retrospectively provide donors with a list of their donations. If gift materials are not accepted by the Libraries, we may suggest other options for your donation.

For more information, please contact
 Greg Eow, 
Associate Director for Collections
, at 617-253-5962
 or gifts-lib@mit.edu.

Also see: Claim a tax deduction for your gift to MIT Libraries