Donation Policy

Ingalls Library and Museum Archives welcomes donations of funds or materials to augment the collections. A good deal of the information below is excerpted from Brattle Book Shop’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Read that in its entirety at the following link: https://www.brattlebookshop.com/faq

  • First and foremost, we appreciate how important your collection is to you. We are grateful and honored that you have considered Ingalls Library and CMA. 
  • That said, 9 times out of 10, we already have the books someone wants to donate. It is important to know we may not want many of a potential donor’s books. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

“I would like to donate [my books, magazines, auction catalogs, other print materials]. Could you tell me how I can do that?” 

(a two-part answer)

Yes! We would love to talk to you about possible donations. Someone from Acquisitions and Collections Development will contact you regarding your request. 

  • Contact Acquisitions at ingallslibrary@clevelandart.org, and provide us with your contact information, i. e., Name, phone, email. Email is the preferred method of contact.  
  • Be ready to provide us with an inventory of the items you are considering for donation. Donations must be accompanied by a list of items. Ingalls Library does not accept donations without an inventory. 

Yes; let us help set expectations.  

  • Ingalls Library is the third-largest art museum library in the nation, and we have nearly 600,000 items in our collection. It is possible that we already have what you would like to donate to the collection. 
  • Be ready to provide us with an inventory of the items you are considering for donation. Donations must be accompanied by a list of items. Ingalls Library does not accept donations without an inventory. 
  • Contact Acquisitions at ingallslibrary@clevelandart.org, and provide us with your contact information, i. e., Name, phone, email. Email is the preferred method of contact

“Can I just bring my stuff there”? [Also: “I brought this book I would like to donate.”] 

We do not accept walk-ins. Please call before coming in. This allows us to ensure that we can give your items the evaluation they need. 

“I don’t have time to make a list. Can’t you just take everything?” 

Ingalls Library does not have the staff or physical space to accommodate bulk deliveries. 

You are the best person to describe your collection! Photographs also work, but they must be in focus. 

“What kind of information do you need?” 

  • We welcome lists, inventories, photographs, emails, and videos! 
  • Include the following: author, title, publisher, date, and location of publication, and the condition of the book(s).  
  • Please let us know any other important information, such as: condition, type of bindings (hardback, paperback, leather, other materials), if there are illustrations, signatures, or inscriptions, et cetera.  
  • If including a date, make sure it is the publishing date indicated on the title page (not the copyright date). Please indicate if no date is given.  
  • Taking photos can be an easier and more concise way to convey what you have. Photograph the cover, title page, and all damage, inscriptions, markings, or other noteworthy things that may affect value.

“Do you make house calls? How quickly can you come visit?” 

We are usually able to make an appointment within 2 weeks of your call, however there are times when scheduling a visit might take longer. We generally make house calls on weekday mornings before 12 noon. We do not make house calls on weekends. 

“What information do you need in order to set up a house call?” 

We need to know the following: an estimate of how many items you want to donate (50, 500, 1000?), the subject matter(s) found in the collection, the general condition of the items, and the general age range of the items (like, “all from the 1800s” or “1920 - 1980”, “early 1970s”, et cetera). 

“What do I need to do before you come see my stuff?” 

Please make sure you have sorted out any items you—or anyone else in your household—may wish to keep from the items you are interested in donating. Please do not worry about gathering all items into one room, or sorting them by subject or potential value —we are happy to evaluate them in situ. Do not worry about boxing up the items—if we decide to acquire them, we come prepared with our own specialty book boxes.  

There are some publications that we are not interested in acquiring, such as:  

  • publications by the Cleveland Museum of Art, 
  • exhibition catalogues from major American museums since 1980, 
  • auction catalogs,  
  • textbooks and manuals,  
  • Reader's Digest condensed books,  
  • Franklin Library books from any series, 
  • National Geographic, Life, Look, and other popular magazines, 
  • books with missing/stripped covers,  
  • books with notes or highlighting (unless made by someone notable),  
  • water-damaged/moldy books,  
  • books missing pages,  
  • encyclopedias,  
  • some new books,  
  • recent best sellers,  
  • books that belong to libraries,  
  • and anything we cannot sell  

Please feel free to call us toll free at 888-CMA-0033, or locally at 216-707-2530.  

Please send emails to ingallslibrary@clevelandart.org. Please be sure to include in your email your full name, phone number, and reason for inquiry. We try to respond to emails within 4 business days—if you have not heard back from us by that time, please feel free to inquire again.