Gifts/Donation Policy

It is the purpose of this policy to provide means for controlling and encouraging gifts to the Library and its branches. It will usually be the responsibility of the Director and branch librarians to make these policies work. One of the first decisions that must be made is to immediately find out the intentions of the donor. Gifts may be designated to the ECRL Endowment Fund, to a branch, or to the system as a whole. The distinction should be made clear as soon as possible in the process.

  1. Donations to East Central Regional Library
    1. East Central Regional Library Materials Endowment Fund
      1. The Endowment Fund will operate under the terms and conditions of the policies which created the fund (Board approved January 11, 1988).
      2. The Endowment Fund will not accept gifts which are designated for a particular branch library, or to be spent for materials in a specific format or on a specific subject.
    2. Other gifts to East Central Regional Library. It will be the policy of East Central Regional Library to accept gifts for specific formats and specific subject matter only when appropriate and consistent with the policies and principles of the library:
      1. The Library will accept materials only with the stipulation that we can use them in the most appropriate way. Materials may be added to the general library collection, they may be discarded because their subject matter, timeliness or condition make them unacceptable, or they may be sold for the same reasons. Proceeds from sales of donated materials will generally be used to purchase newer or more appropriate formats and subject matter to the extent possible.
  2. Gifts to a specific agency of East Central (either a Branch or Headquarters)
    1. All agencies are encouraged to solicit gifts of furnishings and equipment for their facilities from local individuals and organizations. Examples would be furniture, computers, audiovisual equipment and other items which ECRL cannot afford to purchase. It will be important that the librarian, Friends, and/or local boards coordinate their soliciting efforts.
    2. All agencies may accept, but should not normally solicit gifts for materials. To the extent possible the ECRL collection should be a general collection not restricted from moving from one branch to another.
    3. Agencies may accept gifts of cash, books or other materials which the donor wishes to remain assigned to that branch. Such items will stay in the branch to which they are donated, but will otherwise remain under the control of ECRL operating policies. All materials will be made available for short-term loans to individuals who request them from other branches or other libraries.
    4. No agency of the East Central Regional Library may accept a cash gift or gift of materials with the stipulation that use be limited in such a way as to conflict with a policy or principle of the Library. Examples of proscribed procedures:
      1. Accepting materials which can be used only by an exclusive group (e.g. residents of a certain city of members of a certain club).
      2. Accepting cash gifts or collections of materials with the stipulation that the materials be handled in an unusual manner, (e.g. the donated items all stay together on the shelf).
    5. All agencies may accept gifts designated for new or improved library buildings. Such gifts should remain under the control of the local library board or city which controls the building. ECRL will not usually be involved in handling funds for capital building projects.
    6. It will be the policy of the East Central Regional Library to accept the responsibility for insuring and maintaining all furniture and equipment donated to any of the ECRL agencies. All such items will be listed on the ECRL inventory records and will be subject to ECRL policies. Furniture and equipment purchased with local donations or local taxes may be excluded from the ECRL furnishings and equipment inventory, but will not be insured by ECRL.
  3. Financial Control
    1. Cash gifts to the ECRL Endowment Fund will be handled by the Endowment Committee as stipulated by the library board of trustees in January, 1988. Expenditures from the Endowment Fund may be made only within the guidelines established by the Board.
    2. Gifts of cash to East Central Regional Library other than to the Endowment Fund will be deposited into the Library’s “Special Fund Account”, and expended from that account as consistent with Board policies, expenditures may be made as soon as appropriate by ECRL staff.
    3. Cash gifts to an agency of ECRL
      1. Cash gifts to the Cambridge headquarters library may be deposited in the East Central “Special Fund Account”, and expended from that account as consistent with ECRL policies and the wishes of the donor.
      2. Cash gifts to branch libraries may be handled by the local library board of trustees (if any). If there is not a local board of trustees the gifts should be sent to headquarters and deposited in the “Special Fund Account”. Such funds will be encumbered on behalf of the branch and expended at the direction of the branch librarian or local library board. The Director will insure that such funds are expended consistent with ECRL policies and will make suggestions as appropriate. No East Central employee or trustee should deposit cash in any account which is not audited. The audit can be overseen by a local library board, the ECRL board, a county or municipality.
  4. Acknowledgments for gifts
    1. It will be the responsibility of the ECRL Director to thank all donors of substantial gifts to the East Central Regional Library and to the ECRL Endowment Fund. Gifts designated for books will be acknowledged with the memorial book-plate inside the front cover in addition to other thanks (as appropriate).
    2. It will be the responsibility of the Branch Librarians to acknowledge in an appropriate manner gifts directed to an individual branch library. Suggested guidelines are:
      1. A written note of thanks for all substantial gifts of books and for cash donations of $50 to $999.
      2. A small plaque with space for acknowledgment of the names of individuals who have contributed $1,000 or more. ECRL will purchase the plaques for each branch if local funds are not available. The plaque can be used for donations for the building, for furnishings or for materials.
    3. The library will acknowledge in writing all donations (including used books) if the donor desires a written record. It will be the policy of the Region to acknowledge the number, but not the value of donated materials. It is up to the donors to determine the value of donated items for tax purposes.