T H E   N I H    C A T A L Y S T      M A R C H  –  A P R I L   1997



Susan Chacko

Dear Just Ask:

Does anyone know of any programs that could use donations of used scientific journals?

Suzanne Miyamoto, NHLBI

Dear Dr. Miyamoto:

We've all seen piles of journals being thrown out of offices and labs as people clean up or move, and many of us have wondered whether some worthy recipient can't be found for them. As it turns out, there are several organizations, some right here at NIH, that collect old books and journals and ship them to needy institutions in this country and abroad. But before you start packing them up, here are some caveats . . . .

If you have a large pile of 10-year-old issues of the Journal of Somethingorother, don't ship them off to any of the addresses below. Almost all the organizations require preapproval before they accept shipments. The best approach is to contact the organization, give them a list of your journals, and get their consent before sending them anything. Since these organizations generally work on shoestring budgets and have very little space, flooding them with unwanted boxes of journals is probably not a good idea!

If the journals are your own (that is, you paid for them), the procedure is relatively simple. After the organization agrees to your shipment, pack up some boxes and send them off. In most cases, you are responsible for the postage/shipping, but some of the organizations listed are in this area and will accept dropoffs by car. NIH funds can't be used to ship personal donations.

If the journals were bought with NIH money, they may still be donated under some conditions, but you need to get permission from the Personal Property Branch, Division of Logistics, Office of Acquisitions. Here's some information about the procedures involved:

—For donations within NIH (for example, to an NIH library). A Transfer Form 649 is required, and such donations are treated like any other property transfer between ICDs.

—For donations to domestic institutions. The bad news is that NIH does not have the authority to make gifts or donations to domestic institutions. Only GSA can authorize this. For such donations, a memo describing the journals and their value, and including the name and address of the contact person (the donor), should be sent to Dave Talley, Section Chief, Utilization, PPB. PPB will process this through GSA. After permission for the donation has been obtained, the recipient organization is responsible for the postage/shipping costs.

—For donations to foreign countries. According to a PHS act, such donations can be made when the participating organization, institute, or individual in a foreign country is connected (through a collaboration, for example) in some way with NIH research. In this case, the donation is considered to be beneficial to the U.S. government and will be permitted. Form 2489-1, Record of Loan/Donation of Personal Property to Foreign Countries, must be completed and sent to Building 13, Room 2E65. Paperwork processing is expected to take about two weeks. The recipient organization is then responsible for the postage/shipping costs.

If this sounds like a lot of paperwork, the good news is that the current rules for such donations should be simplified soon, so if you are considering donating NIH-owned journals or books, check the latest regulations with Dave Talley (496-5712) for domestic donations and Dan Reggia (496-4248) for foreign donations.

If you donate your own journals, you may be the able to deduct the cost as a charitable contribution if it is made to a qualified organization.* The organization can tell you if it is qualified and if donations to it are deductible. You need to file Form 1040 and itemize the deductions on Schedule A. You need to fill out Section A or Form 8283, if your total deduction for all noncash contributions is more than $500. If the journal subscription is part of membership in a professional society, you cannot write off the journal donation if you are already deducting your professional dues as a business expense. If you plan to take a tax deductiion for your charitable contribution, you need a dated and signed receipt as a record of the donation. For more information, see the IRS web page here and here.

In researching this "Just Ask" question, we sent a query out to the subscribers to NIH's famous Fellow's Listserv list (Fellows-L). We thank the numerous people—including scientists who had earned degrees or done fieldwork abroad—who suggested particular institutions that need book or journal donations. Unfortunately, we don't have space here to include these responses, but that information can be obtained from me (see my address at the end of this article). Potential donors who would like to send their own personal journals to a particular institution but can't afford to pay the shipping costs should contact the recipient institution to find what they need and what (if anything) they can afford to pay for the shipping costs. If you don't have the funds, consider contacting one of the organizations listed here and getting the institution added to its recipient list. Another possibility is contacting the country's embassy (a list of embassy locations, phone numbers, and home pages is at this web site) to ask if they already have a donation program or if they can help with the cost of shipping and postage. Rotary Clubs sometimes have book-donation programs; contact the local Rotary for more information.

The African Studies Association provides some funds for groups of individuals to ship reading materials to African libraries and schools. It can be reached at (404) 329-6410 for more information.

Professional organizations such as the American Chemical Society and the American Physical Society may also have donation programs; contact them to find out more.

The American Council for Learned Societies has a manual, available online, for international book and journal donations. Some of the information there may help you in setting up your own journal-donation program, if none of the organizations listed below meets your needs.

Organizations that Accept Donations

Gloria Rasband is starting the EPS library at NCI in Rockville. She is particularly interested in books and journals related to cancer, epidemiology, statistics, and biostatistics. the journal list is available online. Potential donors should contact her by phone at 496-8646 or e-mail.

The NIH Library may be interested in specific journals to fill holes in their collection, as well as in recent books. Contact Jean Wyse (496-3541) or Susan Whitmore (496-1156).

The Minority College Program at NIH, now in its 18th successful year, accepts all scientific journals (paperbacks less than 5 years old, hardbacks less than 10 years old) and ships them to high schools and colleges in the United States and Puerto Rico. Journals are accepted by appointment only, and the EEO office pays for postage and shipping to the colleges. Call Sandra Thomas at 496-6266.

The World Bank Book Project ships used books (less than 10 years old) and journals (less than 5 years old) to many underdeveloped countries. They are particularly interested in reference books, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries. A phone call—(202) 437-8960—to discuss your donation before dropping it off is highly recommended.

Donations of 10 or fewer boxes may be dropped off at their loading dock at 1775 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Larger donations may be sent to their Maryland warehouse. Call (301) 390-4317 and ask for Dave.

Bridge to Asia takes common scientific journals, such as Science and Scientific American, for shipment to China and Indochina. Journal runs should be continuous, reach the 1990s, and span 20 years or more. Donors pay for the postage to Chicago.

The Brother's Brother coordinates distribution of scientific textbooks and journals to the Philippines, East/Central Europe, Africa, and the Americas. They work with other agencies to distribute materials in countries where they do not have a program. The donor pays for shipment to Pittsburgh. Call them at (412) 431-1600.

The Sabre Foundation, a tax-exempt, charitable organization, provides books and journals to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It is in the process of establishing programs in Ghana, Grenada, South Africa, the West Bank, and gaza. Scientific, medical, or technical materials should have publication dates within the last five years, and journals should be consecutive runs. You'll need to fill out their donation form and fax it to them. Donors pay for shipping to a U.S. warehouse.

Donations to Argentina are coordinated by Lucio Castilla with the Argentine Embassy. Contact him by phone at 435-2252 (Building 49, Room 3C28) or e-mail.

The Nigerian Universities Office, at the Nigerian Embassy, coordinates donations to Nigerian universities. All university-level books and journals less than five years old are acceptable. Donors can request specific institutions in Nigeria. Donations can be dropped off at the Embassy. Send inventory to Barbara Bundy, NIO, Embassy of Nigeria, 2010 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036; phone (202) 659-8113; fax (202) 659-8116.

The Sudan-American Foundation for Education ships to Sudanese universities. Most books in all disciplines and consecutive runs of journals not more than 5–10 years old are acceptable. Donors are responsible for delivery to Arlington, Va. Contact Lee Burchinal at (703) 525-9045.

The American Psychological Association Office of International Affairs coordinates donations of books and journals to 143 institutions around the world. Make a list of the journals you want to donate. E-mail it to Marian Wood or fax to (202) 336-5919. Lists are forwarded several times a year to their prospective recipients, who contact the donors directly.. Donors send the journals directly to the recipients, and postage/shipping is ordinarily paid for by the recipient institutions unless the donor agrees to pay.

1,000 Books for Mexico, a program set up by a group of Mexican students, accepts textbooks for undergraduate and graduate education. English or Spanish texts are welcome. Journals are not desired because of limited space. Donors pay the costs of shipping to Mexico For more information, see the web page. If the cost of shipping is a problem, contact Arti Patel, NIEHS at (919) 541-3241 or e-mail; he may be able to help.

The Association of Scientists of Indian Origin in America, with the Indian embassy, organizes donations to India. They currently ship to nine medical institutions in India. Make a list of the journals and books (all journals welcome, but books from the last 10 or 20 years only) and fill out their donation form. Donors pay for postage and shipping to New York. Contact me, Susan Chacko by e-mail, phone 435-2982, or at Building 12B, Room 2017, to get a copy of the donation form or for more information.

Susan Chacko

* All tax information presented here is meant only as guidelines; for a definitive answer to tax questions, contact the IRS or a tax consultant.


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