Building Schaffer Library’s collections

Donors are instrumental in enriching the distinguished collections at Schaffer Library. We welcome the opportunity to review gifts of books, materials, and Union College ephemeral material for the collections.

Contact information

Donation category Contact Email Phone
Books and periodicals for the general collection Kim Mitchell mitchelk
(518) 388-6614
Rare books, archival material, or Union-related ephemera Sarah Schmidt AskSpecialCollections
(518) 388-6616

Books and periodicals for the general collection

Schaffer Library may review gifts of books and periodicals for the collection. We receive far more offers for material gifts than we can accept, and reserve the right to accept gifts at our discretion (for example, on the basis of condition, direct support of curricular and research interests, duplication, or relevance to the collections). The Library accepts gifts with the understanding that any item not added to the collection may be disposed of as the Library deems appropriate. Gifts not selected for the collection are generally offered for sale to benefit the Library’s programs and services. The Library does not accept unsolicited gifts.

Rare books, archives, and Union-related ephemera

Schaffer Library’s Special Collections & Archives works with donors to review and select materials relevant to the department’s collection development policy. This includes materials relating to Union’s history, archival and manuscript collections, rare books, diaries, photographs, and other ephemera. It is our policy not to accept items already in our collections.

Initial offer

Whether your gift is for our general or special collections, it is important to provide as much information as possible so we may best consider your gift. An initial offer must include a typed list of the material the donor wishes to donate. We cannot consider individual items or collections until we review a list. The list should include information such as title, author, publisher, and date for books, or details such as provenance, type, and class year for Union-related materials. An on-site visit to a donor may be made if we believe such a visit is necessary to evaluate the appropriateness of the gift.

Tax deductions for charitable contributions

Staff members do not appraise gifts to Schaffer Library, and all appraisals must be performed prior to donation. Donors wishing to claim a tax deduction must inform the Union Fund, Abbe Hall/Carriage House, Union College, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308, Upon request, Schaffer Library will provide a written acknowledgement to verify donations. Please consult with a qualified tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service regarding tax treatment of your donation.

Other places to donate materials

Many other outlets actively seek donations for books and other items, including:

  • Better World Books (BWB). BWB is a global e-retailer that collects, sells, and donates used books online to support literacy initiatives in the United States and around the world. Individuals seeking to donate books can do so at a variety of drop-off points in the Capital Region and around the U.S.
  • Schenectady County Public Library (SCPL). The Friends of SCPL will accept donations at Schenectady’s Central Library on most days of the week. Donations support library retail outlets and community outreach programs.