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University Library Policies

University Archives & Special Collections Donation Guidelines

Approved: 1/27/14; Updated 4/28/2020, 01/29/2024

Responsible Administrator: Dean University Library

Responsible Office: University Archives & Special Collections



To make an online gift with your credit or debit card please visit Giving to the Library. Your gift allows University Archives & Special Collections to continue to collect, preserve, and provide access to rare and unique materials specific to Southwest Florida. It also allows us to continue to bring world-class, museum quality exhibitions to the region.


Special Collections staff work closely with donors to identify materials appropriate for adding to our collection. When possible, donors are encouraged to provide an inventory or overall summary of the collection for staff review. After the staff and the donor have agreed in principle that the materials are appropriate for preserving in Special Collections, they will make arrangements to have the materials transported to Special Collections, where they will be accessioned and stored for processing, arrangement, and description by the staff.
Legal transfer of the materials from the donor to the University occurs when the donor reviews and signs an Acknowledgement of Objects Received (or Deed of Gift) agreement. The agreement formally transfers ownership of the materials to the University. The University cannot invest materials and labor in the care of collections which it does not own. Therefore, we cannot accept materials on deposit or loan.
If you have materials that you are interested in donating to Special Collections, please contact Dean Tracy Elliott, or phone at 239-590-7600.


Copyright generally belongs to the creator of writings and other original material (such as photographs and music) and can be legally transferred. To enable scholars to quote readily from collections, Special Collections encourages donors to transfer any copyright which they possess in the donated papers to the University. Transfer of copyright also makes it possible for the Library to make digital access copies of the materials available online where they can be used by researchers worldwide.


Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, Inc. do not assign valuations or make appraisals for objects. A valuation is requested by the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation for insurance and donor recognition purposes.  The donor’s appraisal also will support the charitable contribution deduction claim on the donor’s IRS return.


To ensure their protection and preservation, collections are stored in environmentally-controlled and secure areas, and do not circulate outside of Archives and Special Collections. Staff members retrieve collections for research use in a supervised reading room. 

Staff arrange and describe collections according to archival best practices. Descriptive guides/finding aids are created for each collection, facilitating research use. Records for each collection are placed on the Archives and Special Collections website, and in the Library online catalog.

The information in this page is based, in part, on resources developed by Florida State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.