Gifts & Endowments Policy


1. The Library understands the inherent value and nostalgia that surrounds books and community history, and welcomes gifts of materials, money, or real property. This policy has been developed to provide a framework for the acceptance of donations with consideration to the Library’s mission and strategic plan goals, collection development policy, and other factors such as space, use, and disposal.

2. All gifts donated to the Library shall become the property of the Library. As property of the City of Columbus Junction, donations shall be used, displayed, or disposed of as the Board deems fitting and proper, in agreement with appropriate City policy/procedure.

3. Most donations are given anonymously by dropping off in the Library’s book drops. Given that expenditures to dispose of items that don’t meet collection development standards falls to the library, the following guidelines are meant to be helpful for those interested in making a donation to the library:

Magazines will not be accepted, including entire collections of one title. Magazines are the least circulated collection at the library; most magazines are recycled, as there is not readership nor interest in using them for other purposes.

Non-fiction with a publication date of more than 5 years ago. This information is possibly out of date already, depending on the topic. Additionally, non-fiction collections are regularly checked for validity and publication date, so these titles would not be added to our collection as they already do not meet requirements to stay in the collection.

Entire sets of encyclopedias or other reference materials with a limited scope of interest (ie legal or medial reference materials that are written for practitioners) – many of these encyclopedic texts have been replaced with online databases and are continually updated on their online format. Additionally, many of these items aren’t sought out by the casual readership of CJPL patrons and thus take up valuable shelf space for other non-fiction materials written for readers, rather than experts.

Fiction titles, for any age group, with a publication date of more than 10 years ago. Most of our patrons are interested in the newest, latest, most talked about books. Titles from 10 or more years ago have likely been added to our collection, read when new, and removed from the collection due to a lack of continued readership.

Classics or literary criticism/scholarly works. “Classic” books are all readily available in e-book format from Bridges as well as the Project Gutenberg website, and we encourage our patrons to utilize those formats. Interlibrary loan services are also available from academic libraries, which are in a position to provide excellent collection development services related to academic titles, scholarly works, and literary criticism.

Books or other items in poor condition – dusty, yellowed pages, tears, missing covers, mold/mildew, been written in/highlighted, etc. These books will not be added to our collection, no matter their publication date, due to the condition and should be recycled. Consideration will be given to historical materials relevant to the Columbus community.

Condensed versions/entire collections. This may include Time Life books, Reader’s Digest condensed books or perhaps the entire collection from an author. The space requirements for these items, as well as the desire to have the full version in addition to the abbreviated version, provides difficulty for the library. 



4. Appraisals will not be given on individual items or entire collections. Library staff are not antiquities dealers nor trained in providing a value of books/donations. If you would like to receive an appraisal, please contact local (Iowa City, Burlington) used book stores to discuss your items. Library staff would be happy to provide a letter stating a donation was received, and with your tax professional, you may determine the value of your donation.

5. Funds given directly to the library are considered city funds and will be deposited in the city’s coffers, to be used toward in accordance to city policy and cannot be guaranteed to be used in specific ways. Additionally, endowments and legacies left to the library will be invested per the rules and regulations of the City of Columbus Junction. If those making the gift or memorial wish for the gift/memorial to be used for a specific purpose, gifts should be donated to Friends of the Columbus Junction Public Library.

6. The Friends of the Columbus Junction Public Library provides opportunity to donate a book, or funds, to purchase a specific book, in honor of a loved one. Bookplates are placed in memorial books, and an ongoing database is kept for reference purposes. 

7. Donations that fall outside of the classification of books or monetary donations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis utilizing the following factors: the Library’s ability to appropriately house and care for the item, how it pertains to local history, interest in/use of the item, special instructions/requests, and the appropriateness of the library owning the item (over the museum, school, or other entity). 

8. Interested individuals with larger items and collections that would like to loan the library those items for a program, special exhibit, or some other such time-limited scenario are welcome to speak with the library staff/director to discuss this possibility.

9. The Library applies the same criteria for evaluating gift items as it applies to purchase material. Gifts will be withdrawn in the same manner as purchased material. The Library does not accept responsibility for notifying donors or withdrawal or replacement of gift items.

10. No gifts are accepted unless given to the Library without restriction. All gifts may be utilized, sold or disposed of in the best interest of the Library. All donations are accepted only if the Library Director and the Board of Trustees feels they can be utilized by the patrons.


Written February 2000

Adopted April 2000

Revised June 2002

Reviewed March 2009

Reviewed January 2016

Amended August 2019

Amended September 2021