University Library Gifts

last update: March 2014

University Library Gift Policy for Books, Journals, Digital Files, and Media


General: The University Library, consisting of the James G. Leyburn Library and the Telford Science Library, of Washington and Lee University encourages the donation of books and other materials to enhance its collections. Donations of funds to support the Library’s general acquisitions or for the purchase of materials in a particular subject field are welcomed as well.

Acceptance: Books, journals, media, digital files, and other materials donated to the library are designated for addition to the collections based on the recommendations of subject specialist librarians and faculty input. They will examine donations and evaluate them in accordance with the library’s collection development policies and priorities. Factors considered when reviewing gifts include:

  • The relationship of the materials to the curriculum and faculty research interests

  • The strengths and weaknesses of the existing collections

  • The inherent value of the donated items

  • Potential duplication of materials

  • The capability of the library to process the materials

Acceptance statement: Once a gift has been received, the material is owned by the University. The library reserves the right to determine their retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations related to their use or disposition.

Acknowledgment: Gifts are acknowledged via correspondence to the donor, and a record of the acknowledgment letter is maintained in the University Library records. Donors of collections receive confirmation of the number of items donated, not a list of specific titles.

Restrictions: Gifts with restrictions, such as separate housing, perpetual retention, restricted access, or return of items not added to the collection, are usually not accepted.

Appraisals: The University Library does not appraise gifts. This policy is endorsed by the American Library Association. The IRS requires an independent appraisal if a donor plans to claim a charitable deduction above a certain value. Tres Mullis at the Office of University Development can assist the donor of a large gift in finding an appropriate appraiser and tax advisor.

How to make a donation:

General books: Anyone interested in making a donation should contact Yolanda Merrill, Library Gifts Coordinator, at (540) 458-8662 or She will discuss the gift materials with the donor and indicate whether or not the gift would be of value to the Library. When Ms. Merrill is unavailable, please contact Carol Blair in our Acquisitions unit at (540) 458-8652 or

Items for Special Collections: If your gift concerns materials that are rare, archival, or otherwise not targeted for the circulating collection, contact Tom Camden, Head of Special Collections & Archives, at (540) 458-8549 or

Digital Files: Gifts of digital files should be communicated to Alston Cobourn, Digital Scholarship Librarian, at (540) 458-8657, or

Monetary Donations: Any gift of money should be directed to University Librarian John Tombarge at (540) 458-8134 or More information can be found under the tab Monetary Gifts.

In more detail


The Library's collection supports the educational philosophy of the University and the research needs of its students and faculty. We also focus on collecting and preserving materials related to the history of the University and the surrounding area.

Acceptance of Gifts: We recommend that potential donors provide a list of the materials they would like to offer, and send this to Yolanda Merrill, Library Gift Coordinator, or by mail to Yolanda Merrill, Leyburn Library, 204 W. Washington Street, Lexington, VA 24450.

Under normal circumstances, the library does not accept textbooks, sets of general encyclopedias, photocopied items, damaged or marked up items, and periodicals not needed to fill gaps in the collection.

The University Librarian is the final authority of the acceptance and disposition of gifts.

Transportation: unless pre-arranged, packing and transportation of the gift to the Library is the responsibility of the donor.

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The Library Gifts team consists of:

Yolanda Merrill,  Gifts Coordinator and Humanities Librarian

Carol Blair, Library Assistant in Acquisitions

Elizabeth Teaff, Head of Access Services

Mackenzie Brooks, Metadata Librarian

This team will contact the library's subject specialists to discuss the proposed donation.

Example of a Gift-in-kind

Roger H. Mudd gift plate

Roger H. Mudd Southern Fiction Collection

Roger Mudd, class of 1950, acclaimed journalist and reporter, has been a wonderful friend to Washington and Lee University and its Library. Mr. Mudd has donated many items through the years; in 2006, Mr. Mudd began donating his collection of 20th century southern fiction in memory of Marshall W. Fishwick. This collection provides a treasure trove of almost 2,000 volumes for faculty and students of literature.
In 2010, he donated his personal professional papers and tapes, providing a significant resource for the study of journalism in the 20th century, especially broadcast journalism, as well as a first- hand look at many significant moments of that time.