Donated Journal titles - personal vs institutional

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  • A patron wants to donate a subscription to the library because the library will be cancelling their subscription due to underutilization and budget reductions for 2005. The patron has a personal subscription and the library is cancelling an institutional subscription. Is it acceptable to put the patron's journal issues into the library collection?
  • This is more of an ethical issue than legal. And frankly, from a pragmatic point of view, problematic for the library.

    The library has obviously not deemed this title important enough to spend its precious budget on it. While it may be a valuable journal to some, we must trust the library's decisions on priorities. I find it totally unethical to make a decision to cancel a paid library copy because a personal copy can replace it at less cost. However, should the faculty member have his/her own membership or subscription and after they are finished be willing to donate it to the library, I don't believe that gift runs afoul of any copyright law.

    My practical side has lots of concerns, though. How will the journal be sent to the library? If by the subscriber, how frequently? What do you do about claims? Do you spend the $$$ to bind and store it? All libraries should have a gifts policy in place, and this situation should be part of it.

    -- Trisha
  • I have to admit that I assumed the patron had a personal subscription. I contacted her to clarify and the journal is received along with the patron's assocation membership. She does not subscribe to it.
  • Note that some journals have legal clauses in personal subscriptions that forbid the owner from donating them to any library for some number of years - we ran into this with one published by the Amer Chem Society.

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