A Brief Guide to Donating Your Papers or Records to The University of Texas-Pan American Library Archives ly Papers
For millennia, written records have provided essential clues to the past. Through letters, documents, diaries, reports, and photographs researchers have been able to study and understand much about the history of particular families, communities, businesses, and organizations. And while these papers obviously matter to you, they may also be important to your community, state, or nation. By donating your records to The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) Library Archives repository, you will assure that your history and heritage will be part of our community's collective memory forever.
What Can The University of Texas-Pan American Archives Offer You?
Archives carefully preserve collections of written, visual, and audible material both past and present. Such repositories ensure that these family papers and organizational records will be available for research by generations to come. The UTPA Library Archives can provide the papers with environmentally-controlled, secure storage and can oversee their proper handling and use. Equally important, we can provide research access to the contents of the papers, both to you and to the scholarly public. In future years, researchers - including students, professors, genealogists, journalists and many others may thus find your papers both interesting and of value to their work.
What to Preserve
The UTPA Library Archives accepts donations of as little as a single item and as large as dozens of boxes. Material need not be organized; it need not be "old"; and it need not relate to a famous individual, event, or organization in order for it to be historically significant. Generally, however, repositories are more interested in a coherent body of material rather than individual items. Photos, tapes, and films should be labeled or identified. Because the research value of records may be diminished if items are removed or if the records are rearranged, donors are encouraged to contact the UTPA Library Archivist before weeding, discarding, or reorganizing their papers and records. The UTPA Library Archives request that historical material itself not be mailed or dropped off without first consulting with the Archivist.
If your personal or family papers are deemed appropriate for our collections, and you agree to donate those papers, you stand to gain many benefits. The UTPA Library Archives can provide the papers with environmentally-controlled, secure storage and can oversee their proper handling and use. Equally important, it can provide research access to the contents of the papers, both to you and to the scholarly public. In future years, researchers - including students, professors, genealogists, journalists and many others may thus find your papers both interesting and of value to their work.
What Are Some Items the Archives may be interested in?
Letters, diaries, memoirs, photo albums, genealogical information, business records, speeches, subject files, legal documents, minutes, reports, brochures, photographs, and videos.
Will the UTPA Archives take everything you offer?
Although the UTPA Library Archives cannot accept everything that may be offered (whether because of staff and space constraints or because the papers are not within the collecting mission of the UTPA Library Archives), we welcome the chance to review material; if it is not appropriate for the UTPA Library Archives, there may be another organization to which it could be referred. Some material, though, may be of more sentimental than historical value, and should be kept by the individual or family itself.
Please make an appointment in advance to review and discuss your donation.
Most archives can only invest materials and labor in the preservation of items which they own. Therefore, the UTPA Library Archives accepts donations, but will not accept such material on deposit or on loan. Donors are asked to sign a donation agreement (deed of gift), which formally signifies that the papers become the actual property of the University Library Archives.
Access to Collections.
Once material is donated to the UTPA Library Archives, it does not circulate in order to ensure that it is preserved as long as humanly possible. Access to donated papers is governed by the UTPA Library Archives written policies regarding availability, photo duplication, and publication. While archivists desire to make all papers fully accessible to researchers, they may agree to reasonable restrictions for a distinct period of time.
Assignment of copyright is often complex, and you should work with the UTPA Library Archives staff to clarify issues of copyright ownership. Archivists often ask donors to donate not only the physical papers but also any copyright in them that the donor might own. This request is made to make it easier for researchers to use quotations from the papers in their work.
Monetary Appraisals for Tax Deductions.
It may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of a collection to a repository. Donors are encouraged to speak with their tax accountants or attorneys about this possibility. Archivists cannot give tax advice, nor are they permitted to appraise the monetary value of a collection.
The UTPA Archives is a non-profit organization. Preparing papers for use by researchers is the most expensive operation in a repository. Although financial gifts are rarely a prerequisite for the acceptance of a collection, donors who can also assist repositories with financial support are encouraged to do so. Donors financial gifts of cash, stocks, bonds or mutual funds can help the UTPA Archives pay for the arrangement, cataloging, and conservation of their donated personal papers. A donor may earmark financial gifts for immediate use by UTPA Archives or, to provide long term financial support, the donor may donate funds to establish an endowment. Gifts to an endowment are invested long term; income is disbursed annually from the endowment to provide financial support to maintain and preserve the archived materials.
The University of Texas-Pan American Library Archives
1201 West University Drive; Edinburg, TX 78539-2999
(956) 381-2990 ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Janette Garcia, Head of Special Collections and Archives