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Library Donation Policy

UPDATE (Nov. 2020) While shelter-in-place restrictions are in effect, SFCM is unable to accept donations of used CDs, records, scores, or books until further notice. Donations of musical instruments and new or historically significant items will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

SFCM is grateful for gifts of fine instruments for our students’ use, as well as sheet music, books, and CDs in excellent condition. We've provided some guidelines about what types of materials we accept. Please fill out this form to tell us about your materials and begin the process.

Examples of materials that are generally accepted include:

  • Collected works volumes of composers or musical monuments (opera omnia) are especially sought
  • Chamber music – scores and parts
  • Full scores (conductors' scores); orchestra sets (parts)
  • Books – recent monographs or biographical studies on music or musicians (publishers such as Ashgate, Routledge, Greenwood Press, Cambridge, Oxford, and other university presses are particularly welcome)

Examples of materials that are not generally accepted for donation include:

  • Materials in poor condition (writing or highlighting on pages, evidence of mold, musty smell, yellowed, brittle or torn pages, etc.)
  • Textbooks
  • Popular trade paperbacks
  • Records (LPs)
  • Audio cassettes
  • Magazines or periodicals
  • Popular sheet music

Monetary Donations

Gifts of money to purchase library materials are also welcome. All such gifts are accepted in consultation with the Head Librarian. A special fund may be established for large gifts, while smaller, one-time gifts will be added to the regular acquisition fund.

Conditions of Acceptance

Gifts are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the Conservatory upon receipt, and that the library may make all necessary decisions as to their retention and disposition. Materials not selected for addition to our collection may be sold, donated to students or faculty, recycled, discarded, or otherwise disposed of. Proceeds from the sale of materials will benefit the library or its collections.


The Conservatory will make written acknowledgement of all gifts for which acknowledgement is requested. Acknowledgements typically include the date of receipt and a brief description of the gift. We recommend that our donors prepare a detailed inventory and include a copy with their donations.

Donor Recognition

The Library uses bookplates to designate items as gifts from a donor. If requested, bookplates may be used which indicate that the item is given "in memory of" or "in honor of" or "in the name of."

Tax Information and Appraisals

Each donor is responsible for determining their personal tax obligations and for appraising the worth of their gift. For more information, consult IRS publication 561 entitled "Determining the Value of Donated Property," available here, or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) 24 hours a day to have one sent in the mail. From IRS Form 561:

  • "Appraisals are not necessary for items of property for which you claim a deduction of $5,000 or less..."
  • "Generally, if the claimed deduction for an item or group of similar items of donated property is more than $5, must get a qualified appraisal made by a qualified appraiser…"

Consult the form directly for full details and required documentation.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is a tax-exempt organization and does not provide tax, legal, or financial advice. Any information we provide is intended to be educational and informational. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music strongly encourages all of our donors to seek counsel from their own legal and financial advisers.