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Donations to the National Library of Medicine

Can the National Library of Medicine (NLM) accept donations?

Yes, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) is authorized by the U.S. Congress to accept bequests and donations in support of its mission. The NLM does not solicit funds or in-kind gifts or participate in fund-raising activities. All gifts must be entirely voluntary.

How does the process work?

Donations reach the NLM through its "Gift Fund" accounts, which are separate from the appropriation the NLM receives from Congress for basic operating expenses and administrative costs as a federally funded organization.

Are my gifts tax-deductible?

Gifts made to the NLM without limitation or for any of its public purposes are tax-deductible as charitable contributions under Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Prospective donors may wish to talk to their tax advisors before donating.

How are donations used?

The activities supported through NLM Gift Funds may vary from year to year, depending on the needs of the Library. Here is a partial list of programs and services that might be supported by Gift Funds:

  • Acquisition of rare and unique materials
  • Digitization of historically significant materials
  • Support of special exhibitions with health and humanistic themes; these may be displayed at the National Institutes of Health, tour the nation, or both
  • Outreach efforts that bring Library resources to people in underserved communities
  • Scholarly programs, including lectures, conferences, symposia with visiting scholars, professional visitor exchanges, and workshops on topics of special importance to the field of bioinformatics

How can I donate to the NLM?

Contributions can be made to the NLM by sending a check or money order payable to "The National Library of Medicine" to:

National Library of Medicine
Building 38, Rm 2E17
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894

Please enclose a letter with the check, indicating that the donation is to be used to support the activities of the National Library of Medicine.

Can I make a donation in memory or honor of a person, or as a bequest in a will?

Yes. Donations can be made in memory or honor of an individual or group. The donation letter should include the name of the person who is being remembered or honored with the name(s) and address(es) of the individual(s) (honoree, spouse, family member, etc.) to be notified of the donation. Dollar amounts are not included in the letter(s) of acknowledgement.

Can I make donations for a specific type of project or activity?

Yes. Gifts may be unconditional (e.g., "to the National Library of Medicine") or conditional (e.g., "to support the NLM Profiles in Science digital library research program"). Unconditional gifts are used to support Library activities as determined by the NLM Director. Conditional gifts can be designated for a specific type of project, program or research activity. This request should be specified in the donation letter.

What if I have additional questions about monetary contributions?

Please contact:

Eddie Rivera
Budget Officer
Office of Financial Management
National Library of Medicine
Building 38, Room 2W10
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Phone: 301.827.4572
Fax: 301.496.2903

What if I want to donate rare manuscripts, medical books, journals, periodicals or other materials to the NLM?

NLM welcomes donations that support our mission of preserving biomedical treasures and making them accessible to the public. Please visit our Web pages for contacts and more information on how to donate materials to the NLM collection:

Books and Journals for NLM's Historical Collection (Books before 1914 and Journals before 1871):

What if I want to donate materials that NLM does not need?

The American Library Association maintains a list of suggestions titled "Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs."

Last Reviewed: December 1, 2017