San Francisco Public Library accepts gifts of money to enhance library services through the provision of additional materials and services, as well as non-cash gifts of books and other materials. Gifts of money are the management responsibility of the Library's Finance Officer and the Office of the City Librarian. The Office of the City Librarian, in coordination with the Chief of Branches, the Chief of Main, the Chief of Community Programs & Partnerships, and the Chief of Collections & Technical Services, has ultimate responsibility for decisions regarding what gifts will be accepted.
Gifts of cash generally fall into two categories. Please refer to the San Francisco Public Library GIFT RECORD (PDF) form.
For books and other materials for the collection
This is a gift of cash made specifically for the purpose of buying books and other library materials (e.g., CDs, DVDs, periodicals, etc.) for the collection. Donors may designate the gift for adult materials, children/youth materials or materials in other languages.
For library services & program support
This is a gift of cash for general support of library services and programs. The City Librarian will determine the best uses of these funds.
- Gifts that restrict the Library's use of funds for specific library locations, programs or services are best directed to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
- While the Library welcomes gifts designating funds for specific audiences or types of materials in the collection, designating funds for specific titles cannot be accommodated.
- Donors of $500 or more may request that bookplates acknowledging their gifts be affixed to books whose purchase was made possible by their gifts.
- All gifts of money will be acknowledged.
- Donations are accepted with the understanding that the Library has the right to determine the disposition of gift items. Materials not added to the Library's collections are offered to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library for their book sales (the proceeds of which are used to fund library programs), or may be shared with other appropriate institutions as part of the Library's Community Redistribution Program.
- Due to the large volume of gifts received, the Library cannot acknowledge, track or return unsolicited items received from publishers or individuals.
- Gift materials will be added only if they fall within the guidelines of the SFPL Collection Development Plan and the Library's goals and objectives. San Francisco Public Library applies the same standards of selecting gift materials to be added to its collections as it does when selecting materials for purchase.
- Examples of materials that may not be added to the collection include those that: are outdated, are in poor physical condition, lack any reviews or are poorly reviewed in professional reviewing sources, or are duplicates of items the Library already owns in sufficient quantity.
- The Library cannot accept magazine subscriptions purchased by the donor.
- Prior to accepting a large collection of materials, the donor shall provide the Library with sufficient information about the collection so that the Library may identify resources required for cataloging, processing, preservation and archiving of the materials. The Library shall consider these details for the existing collection as well as the details for its continuation, such as selection and addition of materials and continued funding. In many cases a Deed of Gift and/or a formal written donation agreement may be signed before the library accepts a large collection.
- The Library is not legally permitted to appraise the value of a non-cash gift. Donors who wish to have an evaluation of their gifts for tax purposes are referred to the IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property, and Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. If the value of a gift exceeds $500, the donor must submit a list giving author, title, place, publisher and date of all items and must complete the current edition of IRS Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions. When the value exceeds $5,000, the donor must obtain an independent appraisal; the donor, appraiser and the Library must all sign IRS Form 8283. The donor pays for the cost of the appraisal, an expense that may be tax deductible. Because the Library is considered an interested party in the transaction, the IRS will not approve an appraisal made by the Library.
Friends of the San Francisco Public Library
The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library accepts donations of materials which they sell to raise money for the Library. They will accept most hardcover and paperback books in good condition on all subjects. Donations may be taken to Readers Bookstore at the Main Library, to Readers Bookstore Fort Mason or to the branches. Visit the Friends' Donation Center at 1630 17th Street (between Carolina and Wisconsin streets). They accept donations on Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Larger donations—10 boxes or more—are eligible for pick up by the Friends Book Donation Van. Call 415-522-8600 for more information. You may also bring small quantities of books to your branch library. Please call your branch ahead of time to let them know you are coming.