Giving to the Chapin Library

Gifts of Books

The Chapin Library welcomes gifts of books within the scope of our collecting activities, which primarily support learning and teaching at Williams College. Despite the wide range of the Library’s holdings, some books offered to us may be out of scope, or duplicates of material already here; however, such items may be useful in the general collections of the Williams Libraries, or in College Archives and Special Collections, or can be sold or traded for the benefit of the Chapin Library. The Chapin Librarian will gladly inspect individual volumes, collections, or lists of potential gifts, and advise on how best to proceed.   Return to top

Gifts of Manuscripts

The Chapin Library collects manuscripts ranging from Egyptian papyri and Civil War letters to artists’ archives and drafts of modern literary works. The uniqueness of such materials, which capture and illuminate moments in history, makes them particularly welcome as primary sources for student and faculty research. As a general rule, space does not permit the Library to accept the extensive collections of papers now typically formed by public officials, corporations, and social organizations, but we are always happy to discuss donations of any kind.   Return to top

Gifts of Art and Artifacts

The Chapin Library also accepts gifts of prints, drawings, posters, photographs, and other graphic materials which would complement the Library’s books and manuscripts or otherwise would aid its educational mission. For instance, the Library owns original paintings, a typewriter, and other artifacts in its collection of Samuel “Erewhon” Butler; designs by illustrators C.B. Falls and Pauline Baynes; portrait prints of George Washington; a cannonball from the Battle of Bunker Hill; and thousands of stereo views (stereoscopic photos). Library staff consult with the Williams College Museum of Art and the College Archives about art donations of interest to more than one College department.   Return to top

Cash Gifts and Endowments

The Library welcomes cash gifts, whether one-time donations or endowed funds in support of purchases, operations, and special initiatives. While unrestricted gifts meet the widest variety of needs, the Chapin Librarian will be happy to suggest specific activities or acquisitions to which gifts may be applied, and to tailor these to the donor’s interests. In cooperation with College development officers, the Chapin Librarian can also discuss options for giving such as bequests and annuities. Endowed funds for the Chapin Library are managed through the College’s general investment pool, but income is used in careful observance of the intentions of the donor.   Return to top

The Library’s named gift funds presently include (with special purposes noted):


Each volume added by gift to the Chapin Library is marked with a special label bearing the donor’s name or with other language appropriate to the donation. Books and manuscripts, and special funds such as those listed above, also serve as lasting memorials to loved ones, friends, and classmates. Letters of gratitude are sent from the Chapin Library to all donors and honorees.   Return to top

Tax Deductions and Appraisals

Gifts to the College for the benefit of the Chapin Library are tax deductible as allowed by law. Tax deductions for gifts-in-kind of larger value may require an independent appraisal. In accordance with the Internal Revenue Code, Williams College, as an interested party (the donee), may not provide a statement of value to the donor, and in accepting an appraisal takes no position as to whether it is a “qualified appraisal” under IRS regulations. The cost of an appraisal is the responsibility of the donor and itself may be tax-deductible. In all such matters, donors are encouraged to seek guidance from a professional accountant or other tax adviser.

In general for tax purposes, the effective date of a gift is the date on which it is physically received by the donee and title is transferred. Donors making gifts at the end of the calendar year should ensure that the items are conveyed in time to be received at Williams College before the end of December, taking into account special hours for holidays and Williams’ energy-saving winter shutdown.

As a matter of policy, Williams College cannot recommend individual appraisers, but suggest that donors consult local directories, or websites through which appraisers may be found, such as those of the Southern New England Antiquarian Booksellers and the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. Book and manuscript appraisers in Berkshire County include Second Life Books, Lanesborough, Massachusetts, (413) 447-8010, and Howard S. Mott, Inc., Sheffield, Massachusetts, (413) 229-2019. Appraisers of art, antiques, and artifacts may be found through websites of the Berkshire County Antiques and Art Dealers Association; the National Antique and Art Dealers Association of America; the Appraisers Association of America; and the American Society of Appraisers. Among those located in western Massachusetts are Anne Benedict, Hatfield, (413) 247-3237, and Charles L. Flint Antiques, Lenox, (413) 637-1634.    Return to top

Collection Development Policy

Potential gifts to the Chapin Library are considered according to the guidelines of its collection development policy, and as appropriate, in consultation with members of the faculty. The Special Collections Committee acts as a vetting body for the acquisition of larger collections.   Return to top

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This page was last updated on 6 June 2017