Donating books and other materials

Hennepin County Library accepts donations to enhance the library collection.

Before going to a Hennepin County library to donate materials, please contact the library for more information and to confirm that donations are currently being accepted.

How to donate

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The Library accepts these materials in good condition:
  • Books
  • Zines
  • CDs (music and audiobooks)
  • DVDs
The Library does not accept:
  • Books with mold, handwriting, or highlighting
  • Reader's Digest condensed books
  • Textbooks
  • Magazines*
  • VHS tapes
  • Audiotapes

*Magazines are accepted only for use by Outreach Services patrons. Label them “Donations for Outreach" and take them to your local library.

Making a donation

You can give a single item to staff in your local library or mark it as a donation and place it in the book drop.

To donate multiple items, please contact the library to confirm that donations are currently being accepted.

A donation form for tax purposes is available if you come into the library to make your donation.

Value

We do not provide appraisals and do not accept materials that are not outright gifts.

By law, we cannot determine the value of a donation for tax purposes. We can supply you with a letter that acknowledges the donation you made.

What happens to donated materials

Staff will determine whether the material will be added to the library collection or given to the Friends of the Hennepin County Library to be sold in a book sale to benefit the Library. Materials that contain outdated information about health, science, business, etc., will be recycled.

Once you donate an item, the gift becomes the property of the Library or the Friends of the Hennepin County Library. We are unable to return donated materials.

We welcome donations to our collections to increase their research value and preserve the record of our shared heritage. Contact Special Collections to discuss whether we can accept your donation or suggest a more appropriate recipient for your donation.

Please discuss preparation of the donation with staff before sorting, weeding or reorganizing your collections. It is often helpful for us to receive collections in their original order. Materials which seem unimportant may be significant in light of our other collections.

You may be asked to sign a donation agreement to document the transfer of ownership. Any material donated becomes the property of the Library. Transfer of materials does not affect the copyright status unless materials are specifically owned by the donor and the rights are specifically transferred to the Library.

We do not appraise materials or collections. It is the donor's responsibility to determine the monetary value of donated items.

What we collect

From businesses, organizations and government agencies based or operating in Minneapolis or Hennepin County:

  • Annual reports, financial reports, meeting minutes
  • Newsletters or other organization publications
  • Research or other special reports
  • Legal documents
  • Architectural records, maps and diagrams
  • House or building histories
  • Catalogs, programs, menus or other descriptions or schedules of products or services
  • Yearbooks from colleges, academies, and public and private secondary and elementary schools
  • Manuals, guides or other instructional materials produced by the organization and related to their operations
  • Photographs(with identification) and other visual media (e.g., 16mm film, VHS, DVDs, posters etc.)
  • Audio recordings
  • Official correspondence
  • Manuscripts of published material
  • Advertisements, flyers, pamphlets, postcards and other promotional material

Related to individuals who lived/are living in Minneapolis or Hennepin County or are/were active with an organization (e.g., a sports team) based in Minneapolis or Hennepin County:

  • Photographs (with identification)
  • Manuscripts, and other creative output (e.g.,musical score)
  • Memoirs, diaries and journals
  • Correspondence
  • Other materials directly related to the individual
  • Personal scrapbooks directly related to the individual
  • Audio and video recordings

Electronic versions of all of the above are acceptable.

What we don't collect
  • Non-printed realia (e.g., furniture, furnishings, equipment, knickknacks)
  • Routine financial information such as receipts, statements, invoices or ledgers
  • Material not directly related to Minneapolis or Hennepin County subjects
  • Photographs with no date or time frame or unidentified subjects
  • Art work will be considered on a case-by-case basis but is not normally collected
Why donate?
  • The records of individuals, organizations, businesses and communities provide important historical information about our community.
  • Donated records are arranged, described, preserved and made accessible by professional staff.
  • The records will become part of our community's heritage and made available to everyone and preserved for future generations.
  • Use of all parts of the collection is free and available to the public.
  • Collections are used extensively by students, researchers, writers, artists, teachers, architects, business persons and other library patrons.

Decisions to remove materials from the library collection are based on the Library Board Collection Development and Management policy. The Library Board reviews and approves this policy every three years.

Materials that are removed may be:

  • Re-used by Hennepin County Library’s Outreach Services.
  • Given to local Friends of the Library to sell at book sales.
  • Donated to community partners.

Once the Library has exhausted these options, all remaining materials are recycled. For health and safety reasons, any materials that are wet or moldy are discarded.

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Authors or artists

To have your book, zine, CD, or DVD considered for the library collection, please send a copy to:

Hennepin County Library
Collection Management Services
12601 Ridgedale Drive
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Please include a cover letter, a fact sheet with standard bibliographic information (ISBN, cost, publisher, etc.), and copies of reviews by standard review media (professional journals or newspapers), if available.

For zine artists, please include information regarding where to purchase your zine and an artist's statement that describes your work, if you wish.

The title will be evaluated as would any other title being considered for the collection. Because of the volume of these requests, the Library is unable to return submitted materials or respond directly to each author or artist.