Information Services


Information regarding the donation of materials to Library & University Collections.

Donating books to the Library

Thank you for considering donating items to University of Edinburgh libraries. The following approach refers to proposed donations of General Collection items covering all items published after 1900, and which would not be part of the University’s Heritage Collections due to their value, provenance, scarcity or local relevance. Any proposed donations of Heritage Collection items should be made to the Centre for Research Collections.

How to suggest General Collections items for donation

All proposed donations should be made through the online form, up to a maximum of 10 items.

Online donations form

What we cannot accept

We cannot accept any donations which have not been agreed in advance. Any donated items sent by post or brought to the University Main Library or any of our site libraries without prior agreement will not be accepted.

In general we cannot accept:

  • Duplicate items (check DiscoverEd to see if we already hold your item)
  • Print editions of items where we have an e-book
  • Out-of-date textbooks - in most cases only the most recent edition of a work will be accepted
  • Print journal volumes or issues
  • Unpublished materials e.g. typescripts or offprints of articles
  • Items which are not in excellent condition
  • Items that do not support current teaching and research, or other collection development priorities
How many times can an online donations form be submitted?

An online donations form can be submitted three times during an academic year (1 August - 31 July).

Can a librarian visit me to assess items to be accepted for library collections?

For General Collections (post -1900 materials), we invite you to submit details of items via the online form for assessment. We do not routinely make visits for General Collections assessments.

If you think that you have items which are published before 1900, unpublished manuscript materials or items known to be of high value, provenance, scarcity or local relevance, please contact the Centre for Research Collections for assessment advice.

How quickly will a decision be made about whether proposed items for donation have been accepted or not?

We will respond to all donation submissions as soon as we can and aim to inform you of a decision within one calendar month of your submission. The Library does not assess new donations during September and October to enable our teams to prioritise start of semester work supporting teaching and learning. We recognise that if we are not able to provide a quick response you may decide to make alternative arrangements for your items. If you decide to withdraw your donation submission, please notify our Academic Support Librarian team at

What happens when donations are accepted? 
  • If donated items are accepted by the Library following the submission of the online form, arrangements to provide the items to the Library will be agreed between the Library and the donor. 
  •  Once accepted, all items will become part of University of Edinburgh collections, subject to Library collection policies and procedures. Accepted donations may not all be added to our Library collections or may subsequently be withdrawn from collections as part of collection reviews.
  • Donor bookplates are not generally added to donated items.
  • We cannot collect items, cover the expense of items being sent to the Library or accept responsibility for items in transit.
  • We will not always be able to process accepted donations quickly and there may be a delay between the acceptance of a donation and the items being added to our collections.
  • Any items not added to Library collections or subsequently withdrawn from collections will be disposed of through sustainable routes.
Other places to donate your items

If you have more than 10 items to donate or if your proposed items are not accepted by the Library, you may like to consider our suggestions for alternative recipients for your items.


If have any further queries about donating General Collection items to University of Edinburgh library collections please contact our Academic Support Librarian team,

Related Links


Academic Support Librarians