Deeds of gift

These guidelines aim to assist libraries in understanding the significance and benefits of the use of a Deed of Gift when accepting donations, and ensure that the Deed works in the best interests of the goals of libraries, and considers the needs of potential donors of material.

Libraries have a long history of accepting donations from individuals and organisations to add to their collections. Donations include a wide variety of material including papers and personal records documenting a family or individual history, photographs or photograph albums, records of a business, organisation or religious group and other manuscript material.

The relationship between a library and a donor should be based on a common understanding of the wishes of the donor of the material and the responsibility of the library to provide access to information to support learning and research, preserve cultural heritage and encourage creativity and free expression of ideas.

The most effective way to indicate the transfer of ownership in the donated material from the donor to the library, and to outline the wishes of the donor and the responsibilities of the recipient library, is to use a Deed of Gift.

The guidelines document is available below for download.


  • Purpose of a Deed of Gift
  • Elements of a Deed of Gift:
    • Name of the donor and recipient library
    • Description of the donated material
    • Procedure for unwanted material
    • Copyright and intellectual property
    • Moral rights
    • Special conditions
  • Signing the Deed of Gift
  • Legal review

First published 2010; revised July 2018