L-55. Donors and Libraries

William P. Barlow, Jr. Susan M. Allen

Particularly aimed at rare book and special collections librarians who deal on a regular basis with donors (or who would like to increase their level of activity in this area); also open to donors (and prospective donors) who would like to know more about how libraries and institutional personnel deal with gifts (and with prospective gifts). Topics include: needs and opportunities (the American tradition of gifts to libraries, privileges and responsibilities of donors and libraries, and dealing with bureaucracies); the institutional framework (institutional realities, dealing with changing priorities); library-donor relations (building working relationships, fulfilling obligations, coping with staff changes); tax and legal matters (tax incentives, deeds of gift, gift/purchase arrangements, gift vs. deposit, appraisals, institutional record-keeping).

The course is not intended to be a how-to-raise-money workshop; it is an extended examination of the philosophy of giving, and receiving, collections and other donations in a library context.

The 2009 November course will be held at the Grolier Club in New York City.

Course History

Susan M. Allen and William P. Barlow, Jr. co-teach this course.
William P. Barlow, Jr. teaches a precursor course, "Special Collections Friends and Relations."
This course is not currently being offered. Please do not list on any RBS fellowship or scholarship applications.

Course Resources

  • Advance Reading List
  • Evaluations for this course:

Related Courses


  • William P. Barlow, Jr.
  • Susan M. Allen

William P. Barlow, Jr.

William P. Barlow, Jr. is a partner in the San Francisco accounting firm of Barlow & Hughan. He has advised many individuals and institutions on bibliographical tax matters both in a professional capacity and as an officer of library friends’ groups.

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Susan M. Allen

Susan M. Allen is Associate Director of the Getty Research Institute and Chief Librarian of the Getty Research Library in Los Angeles, before which she was Head, Dept of Special Collections, UCLA; Director of Libraries and Media Services at Kalamazoo College; and Head of Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, Claremont Colleges.

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