Caltech Library Donation Policy

The Caltech Library considers two categories of donations:

We consider donations of books, as well as dissertations and technical reports by Caltech-affiliated researchers, for our circulating, reference, and web-based collections. We consider such donations only from current and past Caltech faculty.  Acceptance is dependent on selection criteria (below). The Library reserves the right to refuse any offer of donated materials. All faculty book donations will be reviewed according to a selection policy and the review of materials may need to be conducted in faculty offices. For large collections, the Library may request an inventory list to facilitate the donation assessment. To discuss or schedule an office assessment of materials, please email library [at]

We also consider donations of unique, unpublished materials documenting the history of Caltech and its faculty, as well as rare books, for the Caltech Archives. Most such donations also come from current and past faculty, but we consider those from others as well. Acceptance in this category is dependent on a different set of selection criteria. To discuss a prospective donation, please contact University Archivist Peter Collopy at pcollopy [at]

If requested, the Library acknowledges gifts by letter with a count of the items received. Library personnel will not provide an itemized list, appraisals or estimates of the value of donated materials. If the donor provides an itemized list of the donation, it will be included with the acknowledgement. It is the donor’s responsibility to place a value on gift items as required for tax reporting purposes. Donors are referred to IRS publication #561 for further information.


Selection criteria for adding donated materials to circulating, reference, and web-based library collections:

  • Materials are in good physical condition and are not legally prohibited from transfer to the library
  • Materials are not subject to special restrictions on placement, treatment, retention, or any other requirements
  • Priority is given to current or seminal academic books; and conference proceedings or and technical reports difficult to acquire from booksellers
  • Priority is given to books, dissertations, and technical reports authored by Caltech-affiliated researchers

The Library cannot accept journals, magazine, and other periodicals; unbound materials; disposal materials such as workbooks; and out of date reference works.

Revised November 9, 2017