Gift Policy FAQs

Q: How will the library acknowledge my gift?

The donor should fill out a Deed of Gift form in order to receive an acknowledgement letter. The Library typically acknowledges a gift within 45 days of receipt. 

Q: Can the library provide an inventory of my gift items?

The Library expects and recommends that donors create their own inventory list of items prior to making any donations, as the Library will not be able to provide such an inventory list once legal transfer of ownership between the donor and the Library has taken place

Q: I would like to claim my gift on my taxes. How do I do this?

If you value your gift at $500.00 or more, you will need to fill out IRS Form 8283. If your gift is valued at $5,000.00 or more, Vanderbilt's Gift Processing Office will also need a copy of this form.

Please mail form to:
Vanderbilt Gift Processing
PMB 407727
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7727

The donor is encouraged to consult with his/her tax advisor on the value of donated material and what can be claimed legally.

Q: How do I know the value of my gift?

The Library encourages donors of larger gifts-in-kind (valued at $5,000 USD or more) to consider obtaining an appraisal of their gifts for income tax purposes. Such appraisals are the responsibility of the donor and should be made before the gifts are transferred to Vanderbilt University Library in order to establish their fair market value. Librarians are unable to provide this service. Donors can find appraisers at the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, the American Booksellers Association or the American Society of Appraisers, to name a few.

Q: Can I self-appraise a gift?

It depends on the value of your donation. The donor is encouraged to consult with his/her tax advisor on the value of donated material and what can be claimed legally. Tax forms and guidelines can be found at the Internal Revenue Service website. The following forms and pamphlets may prove useful:

IRS Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions)
Publications 526 (Charitable Contributions)
Publications 561 (Determining the Value of Donated Property)

Please Note: Cumulative values of donations of the same "like and kind" in a single tax year which reach a total of $500.00 or greater but are less than $5,000.00, can be self- appraised. However, it is your responsibility to provide documentation of the claimed value in the event of an audit by the IRS.

Q: Will my gift be kept together in a designated area of the library?

Gifts are added to the general collection and are not able to be housed separately unless accompanied by a monetary donation for such a purpose. Monetary donations can be an excellent way to support our collections as well as the services and facilities of the libraries. Naming opportunities are available as well, which allow you to create a permanent legacy at Vanderbilt by associating your name with the library, linking you to the place where learning and research merge together with the core missions of Vanderbilt. If you are interested in learning more about these spaces, please contact Nathan Zipper for more information.

Please see Giving to the Library for additional information.

Q: Can my items be returned to me if they are not added to the library’s collection?

Federal law prohibits the return of donated materials once the donation has been made.

Q: What are the types of materials the Library generally does not accept?

Popular magazines
Mass Market paperbacks
Publisher’s preview copies
Single issues of periodicals or broken runs of bound periodicals unless they fill gaps in our current collection
Outdated, superseded titles
Outdated media formats such as LPs, cassettes, etc.
Materials which duplicate current holdings
Photocopies/facsimiles of original materials

Q: Why don't you add everything that is donated to the Jean and Alexander Heard Library?

There are several reasons that we may not add an item to the collection:
The item duplicates material already in the collection;
The item is missing parts (this frequently occurs with donated music);
The item has acidic paper or is in fragile condition;
The item is out-of-scope for the Heard Library which focuses primarily on scholarly materials geared towards the courses of study offered at Vanderbilt University.

Q: Can my items be sent to an alternative destination of my choice (if the Library doesn’t add them to the collection)?

Donors can feel confident that the Library will make reasonable efforts to find appropriate alternative destinations for any donated materials it does not add to its collections.