Donating to RBSCL

Discussing Potential Donations

If you have something that would be a useful addition to the library’s collections, feel free to contact a member of our staff. A library staff member will discuss the potential donation with you, and ask about the age, origin, and quantity of the material in order to determine whether the Rare Books and Special Collections Library is the best place for it. They may ask you to bring the item (or a selection of items from a larger body of material) to the library to be examined, or can arrange to make a visit to where the items are currently located. If an original physical item is not available for donation, as an alternative the RBSCL can arrange to digitize the material and with permission of the owner add the digital version to the library’s collections. 


Gift Agreement and Acknowledgement

If you decide to donate items to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library we will complete documentation formalizing the gift. For donations of archival materials and similar unique items, we will send for your approval and signature a gift agreement outlining the content, terms, and conditions of the donation. We are open to customizing gift agreements to suit donors’ needs.  For donations of items like books, we will send you an acknowledgment letter thanking you for your gift. 


Transfer Arrangements

When an agreement on a donation is reached, library staff will make arrangements with you for the transfer of the items to our facilities. Depending on the kind of things donated, library staff may pack and pick up the material or request you to send it to us. We would appreciate being provided with a brief description or inventory of the donated items, and request that for archival material you do not rearrange the documents, so we can better understand the material’s context as we organize and describe it.


For donated archival collections and other unique items, the gift agreement will detail the disposition of intellectual property rights to the material. Copyright belongs to the creators (and their heirs) of writings or other original work (such as photographs not made for hire), but various options for the disposition of copyright are available, including the transfer of copyright to the RBSCL.

Availability for Research

As the library seeks to make donated materials available for research, it discourages restrictions on their use. Because collections may contain sensitive material, however, temporary limits on user access may be warranted to protect the privacy of the donor or individuals documented in the donated material. Consult library staff about including such provisions in the gift agreement.


When a donation is received, Rare Books and Special Collections Library staff will take steps to ensure that the material is preserved and made accessible to researchers. RBSCL Conservation Laboratory staff will perform cleaning, repairs, and any other required conservation treatment. Books and similar items will be cataloged, and archival material like documents will be organized, stored in archival-quality containers, and described in detailed indexes. All items will be stored in secure, climate-controlled conditions to preserve them, making your gift available to future generations of researchers.

Financial Support

In addition to gifts of rare materials, the Library also welcomes financial contributions to assist it in accomplishing its mission to preserve Egyptian and regional heritage. Use the AUC Giving form above, and choose the gift designation “Other” and enter “Rare Books and Special Collections Library” in the text box.  

You may also contact AUC’s advancement services to discuss giving options to support the RBSCL; see the AUC website for contact information.

Donors who contributed to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library at its formation included Mostafa El-Beleidy, Said Ahmed El Tawil and Mona Said El Tawil, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Margaret Mahoney, Richard F. Pedersen, Adele Simmons, Harley C. Stevens, The Commonwealth Fund, The Frederick & Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Foundation, and the children and grandchildren of Mrs. Reuel D. Harmon. 

Grants for RBSCL projects have been received by the Getty Grant Foundation, U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New York University Arabic Collections Online project.