McMaster University

Book & Periodicals Donation Policy

Donating Books or Periodicals

Gifts of scholarly books and runs of periodicals have contributed significantly to the Health Sciences Library’s reputation as a research library. We welcome any inquiries regarding potential donations which support the teaching, learning and research activities of the Faculty of Health Sciences. We greatly appreciate your help in building our collections.

Review and Consideration

All donations will receive careful consideration, but acceptance is at the discretion of the librarians. Print copies of material that is also available online will not be retained.

Gifts and Donations Left at the Service Desk

Please do not leave donations at the Service Desk without first arranging this with a librarian. Your donation might get lost or discarded.


  • Materials Collected
  • Recent Graduate?
  • How to Donate
  • Tax Receipts

Materials the library is interested in collecting:

  • Recent publications of highly sought after materials in health related subjects.
  • Classic or seminal works in health related fields.
  • Biographies of health professionals in Canada, Britain, and the United States generally.
  • Histories of specialties and hospitals.
  • Material older than 1920, published in Canada, Britain, and the United States generally.
  • Ephemera in health related subjects.
  • Personal papers or organizational records in health related fields.

Materials the library cannot accept as donations:

  • Material which does not support the research or educational programs of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
  • Material published before 1985, unless of particular research value.
  • Duplicates, unless they are copies of high-use, recently published  items.
  • Material in poor condition, unless considered rare or valuable.
  • Superseded editions of academic texts.
  • Material published in languages other than English or French.
  • Newspapers.
  • Photocopies.
  • Popular paperbacks.
  • Single issues of journals, unless they fill a gap within the Health Sciences Library's collection.
  • Long playing records, audiotapes.
  • Large collections physically located outside of Ontario unless very valuable.
  • Collections of material from which we only want a few items.

Message to Recent Grads:

Thank you for considering donating your used textbooks to the Health Sciences Library. We are looking primarily for textbooks published within the last five years.

On occasion we send used books to developing countries, however we have very limited shelf space and do not collect material specifically for that purpose. We have spoken with faculty from developing nations and they do not wish to receive material that is more than five years old.

Please note that all inclusions are at the discretion of the librarians. In accordance with the Deed of Gift, donated material may be discarded at the discretion of the library.

Please do not leave materials at the Service Desk without prior arrangement with a librarian. Your donation might get lost or discarded.

Thank you!

How to Donate Books and Periodicals

Search the library's online catalogue to see if any of the items you wish to donate are already owned by the Health Sciences Library.

Unless the items are very valuable or highly used, recent publications, the Health Sciences Library DOES NOT COLLECT DUPLICATES.

Provide a list including: Author, Title, Place of Publication, Publisher, Publishing date, Edition, and General Condition. This list will help the librarians to make a decision about each item offered, quickly and efficiently.

Example of citations desired for each item:

Smith, Carl. Pioneers in pediatrics in the 20th century. Toronto, ON: MacMillan, 1997. 1st ed. (Hardcover, dust jacket, as new).

Jones, Edith. Techniques in Military Radiology. London, England: Oxford University Press, 1918. (Hardcover, some wear to binding, otherwise good).

Fill out the Deed of Gift Form.

Contact the Health Sciences Library to discuss your donation with a librarian.

Andrea McLellan, Collection Coordinator (905) 525-9140 x24169 /

Tax Receipts

McMaster University has been issued a Charitable Registration Number by Revenue Canada which permits the University to act as a not-for-profit charitable organization. The ability to receive gifts and issue receipts is governed by Canada Revenue Agency, Federal and Provincial statutes, and University policy. A gift, for purposes of the Income Tax Act, is a voluntary "transfer of property" for which the donor expects and receives nothing of value in return.

Because the donation process can be cumbersome, as a rule, the Health Sciences Library does not issue tax receipts for donations valued at under $100 Canadian.

We cannot issue tax receipts for materials we do not intend to keep. Therefore we cannot accept collections for which we only intend to keep a few items.

Donated materials must be physically in the Health Sciences Library within the calendar year of the tax receipt. Eg. Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2009 to receive a tax receipt for 2009. However because the process to issue a tax receipt has several steps over which we have no control, we cannot guarantee that any material received after September will receive a tax receipt in time to be included in your tax return.

The Tax Receipt Process

The items are individually appraised for their fair market value of your gift. (Fair market value is generally defined as the price the item would bring in an open market transaction.) Gifts valued at more than $1,000.00 must be appraised by one or more independent appraisers who are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada. Gifts valued at less than $1,000.00 can be appraised by a librarian.

Your gift will be acknowledged with a letter of thanks.

A Deed of Gift form  will be sent to you. The Deed of Gift legally transfers your property to McMaster University Library. Three original copies are required. You will be asked to sign, date and return all three copies. A copy will be returned to you with the tax receipt  for your files.

You will be asked to write a brief note officially stating that you intend to donate this material to the Health Sciences Library.

These forms, your note of intent, the list of the donation and the appraisal will be sent along with other documentation to University's Advancement Office for execution.

The University's Advancement Office will then issue a charitable donation tax receipt to you for the value of your gift.