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Donation Policy

Poets House Poetry Collection
Poets House relies on donations from hundreds of donors each year to ensure that the Reed Foundation Library continues to grow. Over the years, our supporters have helped build a unique 70,000-item poetry library that is free and open to the public. Built by our community of poets, poetry publishers, and readers of poetry, the collection documents the poetry of our time.

Books, chapbooks, journals, and multimedia items donated to Poets House are cataloged and added to our collection. New titles are included in our annual Showcase exhibition of the year’s poetry publications. A Poets House bookplate is affixed to each book to honor the contribution of the donor. Journals are not bookplated.

All contributors agree that their donations are made freely and that they become the property of Poets House to add to the collection, store, sell, or give away, as best suits the needs of the collection. Donations cannot be returned to the donor for any reason. Further, as we have limited space for storage, we reserve the right to accept only those materials that are needed.

Our library accepts donations only in the area of poetry. This includes critical works about poetry, books about reading and writing poetry, and works relating to poets (biographies, letters, interviews, et al.). We do not currently accept foreign-language materials, only English-language materials, including bilingual and multilingual works that contain English-language poetry.

Donations exceeding 25 volumes must be cleared by our library staff first. Poets House may request a financial contribution to assist with the processing of donations of 50 or more items.
All items must be shipped or delivered to Poets House. We do not pick up donations.

We regularly receive duplicate donations of individual items. Due to space constraints, we are only able to shelve one copy of each item; all duplicates will be deaccessed. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO CHECK OUR ONLINE CATALOG FIRST to avoid duplication. In order to make the most of duplicate volumes, we may do any of the following:

• Store items on- or off-site;
• Exchange items with other libraries to fill in gaps;
• Sell items through various means including book sales on site to support the collection;
• Discard items that present dangerous conditions such as mold; and/or
• Donate items to other libraries and organizations.

Donating Original Artworks and Photographs

Poets House welcomes selected original works of art and photographs. Given our storage restrictions and the care required of such items, Poets House is highly selective in accepting art. We will consider works that offer significant value to our library, and we kindly request that donors of original artworks and photographs put their offer in writing, addressed to the Artistic Director, who will review the offer to determine its appropriateness for Poets House with our Artworks and Exhibitions Committee of professionals in the field.

Financial Support

Poets House welcomes financial gifts in support of the processing and cataloging of donated materials. Since processing and cataloging donated materials are costly and time-consuming functions, they are managed on an as-possible basis. Gifts of financial support cannot be presumed to guarantee acceptance or priority treatment for any materials.

Tax Considerations

Poets House is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
However, Poets House is unable to assess the value of any donation, and we encourage all donors to consult their legal, tax, and/or financial advisors before making a gift to our library. Donors who want their gift acknowledgement to state a value are responsible for securing a third party appraisal. Poets House does not pay for appraisals and is not responsible for reviewing their validity.

Acknowledgement of Your Gift

All donations of material must be accompanied by a Library Donation Acknowledgement Form, available here on our website, and in the Reading Room at 10 River Terrace. A copy of the form will be sent to you as a receipt for your gift. Additionally, Poets House will provide individuals who donate significant materials with a letter of acknowledgement, upon request.

Donating up to 25 volumes

If you’d like to donate one or more books to Poets House, stop by, fill out our Donation Acknowledgement Form, and drop it off with the material(s) you wish to donate. Or you can download a Library Donation Acknowledgement Form and mail it together with your donation to:

Poets House, Attn: Librarian
10 River Terrace
New York NY 10282.

Donating more than 25 volumes

Please send an email to describing your donation. Include information as to whether or not you have checked our catalog for duplicate holdings and let him know how many volumes are involved. Acceptance of large donations is dependent upon a range of considerations, including availability of staff-time to process your contribution and our determination that the proposed donation will add value to the collection.

Thank you! On behalf of Poets House and its staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors—and tens of thousands of visitors each year—we thank you for your thoughtful and generous donation to our library.

More Questions?

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