Poets House relies on donations from hundreds of presses, poets, and donors each year to ensure that the Reed Foundation Library continues to grow. Over the years, our supporters have helped us create a one-of-a-kind 70,000-item poetry library that is free and open to the public. Built by our community of poets, publishers, editors, and readers of poetry, the Poets House collection is a living record of the poetry of our time.
Books, chapbooks, journals, and multimedia items donated to Poets House are cataloged and added to our non-circulating collection, where they can be freely read, browsed, and discovered. A Poets House bookplate is affixed to all non-serial publications to recognize the contribution of the donor. New titles with qualifying publication dates will first be included in our annual Showcase exhibition of newly published books. To learn if your donation qualifies for the Showcase, please refer to our Showcase FAQ.
What To Donate
Poetry in all formats is welcome at our library: books, chapbooks, journals, multimedia, broadsides, ephemera, artists’ books, and poetic art objects. We also accept poetry-related works, including critical works about poetry; books about reading, teaching, and writing poetry; literary reference works; and works relating to poets (biographies, correspondence, interviews, etc.). However, as our scope is confined to poetry, we cannot accept works that are not poetry or poetry-related. Because of our limited space, we typically only retain journals with at least 30-50% poetry content and books with at least 50-70% poetry content.
At this time, we accept only English-language materials, and bilingual/multilingual items that contain an English translation.
How To Donate
Up to 25 items can be shipped to or dropped off at Poets House without advance notice. We do not pick up donations. Please direct materials to:
- ATTN: Library
- Poets House
- 10 River Terrace
- New York, NY 10282
All donations will be acknowledged by library staff within three to four weeks of receipt, with occasional delays depending on the volume of donations we are receiving. Please include your email address with your donation to expedite this process; snail mail acknowledgments may take us longer.
If you would like formal documentation of your donation, please fill out our donation form; we will scan and return a signed copy to you for your records. Forms are also available on-site.
We encourage you to check our catalog to avoid contributing materials we already have in our collection, as we typically cannot retain multiple copies of one item.
Donating More Than 25 Items
Please contact our library staff if you would like to make a donation of more than 25 items. We require the following information:
- How many items you would like to donate;
- The nature of your proposed donation (journals, chapbooks, materials relating to a specific press or author, etc.); and
- Whether you have already checked our catalog for holdings of each item.
Acceptance of large donations is dependent upon a range of considerations, including availability of staff time to process your contribution and our determination that the proposed donation will add value to the collection. We may require an inventory of the titles you wish to contribute to avoid receipt of duplicate items.
Poets House requests a financial contribution to assist with the processing of donations of 50 or more items.
Donating Artworks and Photographs
Poets House welcomes selected original works of art and photographs. Given our storage restrictions and the care required of such items, Poets House is highly selective in accepting art. We will consider works that offer significant value to our library, and we kindly request that donors of original artworks and photographs put their offer in writing, addressed to Program Director Paolo Javier, who will review the offer to determine its appropriateness for Poets House with our Artworks and Exhibitions Committee of professionals in the field.
All contributors agree that their donations are made freely and that they become the property of Poets House to add to the collection, store, sell, or give away, as best suits the needs of the collection. Donations cannot be returned to the donor for any reason. As we have limited space for storage, we reserve the right to accept only those materials we deem necessary for the collection.
We may do any of the following with donated materials:
- Store items on- or off-site;
- Exchange duplicate items with other libraries to fill in gaps;
- Sell duplicate items through various means, including discounted on-site book sales, to support the collection;
- Donate duplicate items to other libraries and organizations; and/or
- Discard dirty and damaged items, or items that present dangerous conditions such as mold.
Poets House will process and catalog your donation when prior donations, staff availability, and library resources permit. Large donations may take us longer to add to our shelves because of the additional staff time they require.
Poets House welcomes financial gifts in support of the processing and cataloging of donated materials. We suggest a donation of $50 to $100 per carton of books, as discussed with the librarian when arranging the donation.
Since processing and cataloging donated materials are costly and time-consuming functions, they are managed on an as-possible basis. Gifts of financial support cannot be presumed to guarantee acceptance or priority treatment for any materials.
Poets House is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Poets House is unable to assess the value of any donation, and we encourage all donors to consult their legal, tax, and/or financial advisors before making a gift to our library. Donors who prefer their gift acknowledgment to state the gift’s monetary value are responsible for securing a third-party appraisal. Poets House does not pay for appraisals and is not responsible for reviewing their validity.
Please contact library staff with further questions about potential donations.
On behalf of Poets House and its staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors—and tens of thousands of visitors each year—we thank you for your thoughtful and generous donation to our library. Your support helps us keep our collection growing, relevant, and freely accessible to all.