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Supporting Special Collections

Stewardship of our unique and rare collections is a challenging and multi-faceted responsibility. It involves seeking out new materials that build and strengthen collections, making these collections accessible for research and teaching, and preserving these materials for future students and scholars.

Once a rare book or manuscript is acquired our work has only just begun. It must be cataloged and described, and it may be digitized, so it may be used by faculty, students, or visiting scholars for research and classroom instruction; it may become part of an exhibition curated by our librarians, teaching faculty, or students, or the focus of a blog or online post; and we have to provide proper climate and preservation environments to ensure its long-term stability. Our library faculty and staff are skilled in all these areas, but we very much welcome the participation and support of library friends and donors to help us in our efforts.

Are you interested in supporting original research and learning from the sources? Are you eager to be a partner in building collections of rare books and manuscripts?

If you are interested in making a financial gift to sustain our collections and programs, please contact the head of the department, Gregory Pass (314-977-3096). Or, if you are interested in making a donation of materials to Special Collections, please contact the collections specialist below whose expertise best matches the materials you wish to donate:

Our staff will work with you to determine whether your donation is a good match for our collections. A description or listing of the materials to be donated is very helpful in this process and should include a general estimation of quantity and condition, as well as (in the case of printed books) information on author, title, publisher, and date/place of publication. Donations of materials to Special Collections are evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Relevancy to university curricula and our subject area collecting profiles
  • Duplication of material in the collections
  • Physical condition of the item(s)
  • Freedom from restrictions limiting the usefulness of materials to students and faculty of Saint Louis University and visiting researchers

Saint Louis University does not provide appraisals or tax/legal advice. Donors should seek appraisals and tax/legal advice from an independent source. Appraisals for prospective donations should be obtained from a qualified appraiser. Qualified appraisers may be identified through the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America.

Donations that are accepted become the property of the Saint Louis University Libraries. The Libraries reserve the right to determine the retention, location, cataloging treatment, disposition, and other considerations related to the use, maintenance, or removal of materials. A draft example of our donor agreement is available for consultation. We would be happy to discuss the donation process with you.