Navigate / search

Cultural Assets Acquisition & Deaccession Policy


The Cultural Assets Collection of the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library consists of artwork, furniture and other non-literary artifacts owned by the Library. It does not include manuscripts, books or other printed materials.

Scope of Policy

This document refers to all cultural assets currently existing within the collections of the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library (SFL). It also refers to cultural assets proposed as donations to the SFL. Items offered to the SFL for the purpose of sale and conversion to cash are outside the scope of this policy.

Acquisition Process
  1. At this time the SFL does not actively pursue non-literary gifts. However, the SFL may consider donations of such gifts provided that they meet the following criteria:
    Object(s) must be consistent with the mission of the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library and must have one or more of the following qualities:

    • A demonstrable Gloucester or Cape Ann connection
    • Historical, cultural or aesthetic significance
    • Rarity or uniqueness

    In addition to the above:

    • Object(s) must have good and clear title.
    • In most cases, gifts of objects must be free of restrictions and limiting conditions
    • Object(s) must be a good state of repair and must not pose a financial burden on the institution in terms of conservation and preservation
  2. Initial proposals for gifts are made to the Executive Director. If necessary, consultations are made with conservators, legal professionals and/or other outside specialists.
  3. If an appraisal is sought for tax purposes, it is the sole responsibility of prospective donor. The SFL does not provide appraisals, nor does it recommend specific appraisers. The American Association of Appraisers can provide a state-by-state list of accredited appraisers arranged by subject category:
    American Society of Appraisers
    11107 Sunset Hills Road
    Suite 310
    Reston, VA 20190
    Telephone: (800) 272-8258
  4. After initial processing, proposals of gifts will come before the SFL’s Special Assets Committee at its regular quarterly meeting. The Committee will decide whether to recommend to accept the proposed gift by a majority vote if a quorum is present.
  5. The SFL Board of Directors will receive the Committee’s recommendation and will make a final vote to accept or reject the proposed donation at a meeting of the full Board of Directors by majority vote if a quorum is present.
  6. A Deed of Gift must be signed by the donor before the SFL takes legal possession of the object(s).
Accession Procedures
  1. An accession number will be assigned to each object coming in to the Collections and the object will be marked or tagged.
  2. All gift documents must be filed with corresponding numbers.
  3. The object(s) must be photographed and a hard copy of the photograph should be filed with the same.
  4. Curatorial information including digital photographs will be entered into a collections catalog database.
Deaccession Procedure
  1. The SFL recognizes that from time to time it may become appropriate to remove items from the SFL’s Cultural Artifacts Collection. With reference to the SFL’s mission and acquisition criteria, an object will be considered for deaccession if it is:
    • Not within the SFL’s scope or mission
    • Beyond the institution’s capacity to maintain
    • Not useful for research, exhibition or educational programming in the foreseeable future.
    • Duplicate item(s) in the Collection
    • Deemed unauthentic; a copy
    • Is physically deteriorated / hazardous to the SFL’s collections
    • Acquired illegally or unethically
    • Subject to donor restrictions or requirements that the SFL is no longer able to meet.
  2. Recommendation for deaccession originates with the Executive Director. Item(s) appraised at a market value of $500.00 or below can be deaccessioned at the discretion of the Library Director, who will dispose of the item(s) as outlined below in Part VI.
  3. Recommendation for deaccession of objects appraised above $500.00 in value originates with the Executive Director, who will bring the request for deaccession to the Special Assets Committee. The Committee may accept the recommendation by a majority vote if a quorum is present.
  4. The SFL Board of Directors will receive the Committee’s recommendation for deaccession and will make a final vote to deaccess at a meeting of the full Board of Directors by majority vote if a quorum is present.
Disposal of Items in the Collection
  1. The disposal of items deaccessioned from the Cultural Artifacts Collection of the SFL will be carried out through an open public process. Generally, items will be offered for sale though a public auction.
  2. To eliminate potential conflicts of interest, no person affiliated with SFL, including staff, Board members or members of the Special Assets Committee shall be allowed to bid upon or otherwise pursue object(s) deaccessioned from the SFL Special Collections.
  3. The SFL will consider donating or selling the object(s) to another library, museum or archive.
  4. The SFL may extend the courtesy of informing the donor or family members when an item is deaccessioned.
  5. The SFL’s Board of Directors will determine how the proceeds resulting from the sale of a deaccessioned item will be allocated.
Periodic Review of Acquisition / Deaccession Policy

This policy will be reviewed biannually by the Special Assets Committee, and revised then or at any time as needed, subject to a vote by a majority of the Board of Directors if a quorum is present.

Approved by Board of Directors, March 15, 2006
Address of American Society of Appraisers updated, March 4, 2017