How do I donate items to the Library?
The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s collections contain a wealth of resources relating to Mary Baker Eddy and the history of the Christian Science movement. But they are by no means complete, and we regularly accept donations of historical items from both individuals and other organizations.
“What do you collect?”
When you think about the materials that the Library takes in, the first things that come to mind might be photographs, publications, and documents by and about Eddy. However, our collections also contain information about Christian Science branch churches and organizations, personal papers of individuals who were involved with the Christian Science movement, and documentation of the activities of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. We strive to capture the full, rich, and diverse history of Christian Science and Christian Scientists around the globe, from the nineteenth century to the present day. Our collections don’t just consist of physical materials—we have a growing collection of digital files as well, including audio and video. If you are interested in donating an item that falls into any of these categories, we encourage you to reach out.
“How do I donate?”
To make a donation offer, you may contact the Library’s staff by email, phone, or regular mail, or through the contact form on our website. Your information will reach our acquisitions team, which will review the offer and let you know whether we are able to accept it. Certain details help us determine whether or not your offering would fill a gap in our collections. These include the age of the item, its physical appearance and condition, and anything you know about its history. If you are unsure of what information to include in your message, just share as much as feels relevant or send a photo. We will be happy to contact you with any follow-up questions.
“Do you take all donations?”
Sometimes we are unable to accept an offer. If this is the case, we’ll let you know. This is generally because we already have sufficient copies of an item or because it falls outside the scope of what we collect. We may decline an offer if the item involved shows signs of damage from insects or mold. The Library also does not purchase items for its collections, accept items on loan, or accept items with restrictions on access or use.
“What if you accept my offer?”
If we’re able to take in an item, we’ll contact you with information about how to send it to us. Once we receive it, we will mail you a deed of gift to sign and return. This document serves as a formal record of your donation, and a completed copy will be returned for your records.
Having completed the acquisition process, our staff will then have the honor of adding your donation to The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s collections. If an item is less than 50 years old and references other individuals, we may choose to restrict access to it for a period of time, out of respect for privacy. But in most cases items become available for research soon after we accept them.