Gifts and Donation Policy



The Alameda Free Library Board encourages and appreciates donations of all kinds.  The Library Board and the Library Director work with two 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that are chartered to support the libraries by developing and implementing donations of all types to provide supplemental funding to the library community.  The two organizations are the Friends of the Alameda Free Library, commonly called the “Friends,” and the Alameda Free Library Foundation, commonly called the “Library Foundation.”  The Friends and the Library Foundation also assist the library administration in providing ideas for special projects, programs, equipment, and collection needs which would benefit from private support.


The Friends of the Alameda Free Library is a volunteer organization. The Alameda Friends group was founded in 1973 to increase public awareness of the Library as an essential part of the community and to support the Library in developing services and facilities. What else do the Friends do?  They hold semi-annual sales of donated books; fund children’s and teen programs; sponsor author nights and other special events; donate magazine subscriptions  to Juvenile Hall; support the library literacy program, Alameda Reads; serve as advocates for state and local funding; publish a Friends newsletter; and most importantly, stimulate community awareness of all Library Services.


The Alameda Free Library Foundation was created in 1998 by a group of visionary community leaders.  The Library Foundation had three purposes: to replace the Carnegie Library with a more modern, accessible institution, which would include Public Art; to enhance the operational funding for the Library in order to improve collections, technology, and programming; and to build an ongoing base of private funding support for the Library.  Contributions for the Main Library and its branches should be given to the Library Foundation, which is the preferred recipient for private gifts because it has established the infrastructure to track, acknowledge, and recognize these gifts.

Within the guidelines that follow, the Alameda Free Library works with the Friends and the Library Foundation in receiving donations.


Contributions of Materials


General Policy

All books, materials, personal property items, furniture, and equipment donated to the library become the sole property of the library (public property). Donors are responsible for transporting items to the library.  No conditions may be imposed on the library in its acceptance of any gift or donation.   The Library retains unconditional ownership of the gift.  The Library makes the final decision on the use or disposition of the gift.


The Library welcomes books in good condition.  Most book donations shall be given to the “Friends of the Alameda Free Library” for use in library fund-raising projects such as the semi-annual sale.   By request, donated books are evaluated by the subject area specialist for consideration as additions to the library collection.  Few donated books are added to the library collection.


Other Materials

Weekly magazines are welcomed if they are less than one month old. Monthly magazines not more than three months old are also accepted. Most magazines will be placed in the free Magazine Exchange bins located in the Main Library Café and at both the West End Library and the Bay Farm Library. All categories of audiovisual items in good condition are also accepted by the Friends for inclusion in the book sales.



Donations of equipment are appreciated if the item(s) satisfies a definite need or deemed necessary for the development of a program or establishment of a collection.


Personal Property

Art objects, portraits, antiques, and museum quality objects are considered for acceptance on a case-by-case basis. If accepted, the library is not able to guarantee permanent display or ownership of an item.


Real Estate

Gifts of Real Estate are encouraged but are considered for acceptance on a case-by-case basis.  Proposed gifts of real estate are not accepted by the City in the absence of action by the City Council.  If accepted, the Library will promptly notify the Risk Manager of the transaction so the property will be properly insured.  Without a guaranteed source of monetary support, the library is not able to insure the library’s permanent ownership of donated real estate.  The donor is urged to arrange a secure source of funding of operations and maintenance or the library retains the option to distribute the Real Estate to benefit the library. 


Monetary Contributions


General Policy

Monetary donations are most welcome by the library. Gifts may be made toward the purchase of library materials or for support of operations, programs, or facility enhancement. The library reserves the right to decline a monetary donation if the conditions of the donation are deemed unsuitable or inappropriate for the library.


Monetary gifts are welcomed from individuals, businesses/corporations, non-profit/for-profit organizations and other entities. Matching gifts by employers are encouraged. Gifts of securities received by the library shall be sold as soon as practicable at market rate, and the proceeds used as deemed best for library needs.



Donations made to honor an individual or an event is encouraged.


Bequests & Endowments

Endowments to provide continuing support of programs, collections or facility enhancements are welcomed. Information and special giving programs are available through the Library Foundation; e.g. charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, donor advised funds, insurance options, etc.   



All donations for which the donor does not request anonymity shall be acknowledged by the Library Director or appropriate Department Head with a letter of appreciation. The library cannot provide appraisals.  It is the responsibility of the donor to assign a monetary value to the gift for tax purposes. For a monetary gift given in memorial, tribute, bequest, or in recognition of someone, a letter shall be sent to the person or family of the person being honored.


Books and Materials

Books and materials delivered to the library shall be acknowledged, if requested, at the time of delivery with a standard “Book Donation” card that acknowledges receipt.   



Funding of equipment, furniture, or artwork valued at $500 or more shall be recognized with a plaque engraved with the donor’s name.  


Major Contributions

Gifts of $5,000 or more, to the Library Foundation, by individuals, organizations, or businesses shall be recognized with permanent individual wall plaques prominently displayed in the library.    


Benefactor Contributions

Gifts of such magnitude that change the course of library services may be considered for naming privileges on a case-by-case basis.  These gifts may be made directly to the Library or directed through the Library Foundation.


Adopted by the Alameda Free Library Board 03.14.07