Library Collections and Donations Policy and Criteria

Mission Statement of the BLM Library

To provide Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees with access to scientific information and relevant literature to support current and emerging BLM initiatives and priorities for science-based land management and decision-making, as well as provide universal access to BLM publications.


The BLM Library strives to collect, preserve, curate, and provide access to materials supporting the mission of the Bureau. Those materials will promote the mission of the BLM to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations”. This includes unique items generated by BLM’s predecessor agencies the General Land Office and Grazing Service.

Donation Criteria

All donations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis relying upon the professional judgment of the BLM Library staff. There are guidelines and considerations for the acceptance of donations. Other considerations may be taken into account depending on the specific donation. The library reserves the right to deny donations.

For donations to be considered for addition to the BLM Library’s collection, items must fall into one of these two categories.

  1. BLM or BLM-related publication. Produced by BLM and/or produced for BLM through contract, partnership, or interagency agreement.
  2. Publication provides reference support for BLM’s current and/or past mission, priorities, and initiatives.

The BLM Library collects:

  • BLM produced materials - both draft and final versions, contracted reports, unpublished reports, historical photos (images must contain descriptive information, i.e.: names, locations, dates), etc.
  • The library also retains documents from BLM’s predecessor agencies, the General Land Office, and Grazing Service, as well as other historical BLM documents and policies, including historical directives (obsolete versions of Instruction Memorandums, Information Bulletins, Handbooks and Manual Sections).
  • Materials of particular significance are historical, rare items, which the library is equipped to preserve in library’s secured, temperature-controlled room.
  • Typically, donations come to the BLM Library as hard copies, and is the preferred format type. However, the library accepts electronic copies, with limitations.

The BLM Library is not interested in copies of maps, published journal articles, outdated reference texts, or materials that contain PII. The library does not retain personnel files, meeting notes, financial records, or purely administrative materials. The library does not take materials already held by the BLM Library.

Donations Policy

The BLM Library accepts donations only with the approval of BLM librarians, without restrictions or conditions as to their potential location or potential retention/withdrawal. The library may accept items if they are deemed appropriate for preservation and within the scope of the BLM Library and the mission of the BLM. Donated items not selected for inclusion may be offered to other federal libraries or employees or sent for disposal/recycling.

Requirements of Donors

Donors will work with a BLM librarian to discuss donations that are being considered and discuss the necessary steps for a donation plan. The donor will work with BLM librarians prior to sending any materials to the library’s physical address. Special donation instructions for historical photos, oral histories, and oral history transcripts will be shared upon request. Any questions or concerns about the donation process should be directed to the BLM Library at

A possible donation plan is as follows:

  1. Donors will first contact the BLM Library to discuss donations.
  2. Donors will do a review of the library’s holdings in the BLM Library catalog to determine that the library already does not contain those items. The BLM Library maintains no more than three copies of a BLM produced work.
  3. Donors will create a list of materials to be considered for library inclusion that will be shared with the BLM Library.
  4. Librarians will identify materials that will be considered for inclusion within the library’s collection and share with donors.
  5. Donors will coordinate shipping of materials to the BLM Library located at the National Operations Center in Denver, Colorado.

Special Collections

A special collection is a group of items that can be in any format (including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, and digital records) that are unusually rare, or one-of-a-kind, and irreplaceable. For this reason, special collections are ideally stored separately from the regular library collection in a secure location with environmental controls to preserve the items for posterity. The BLM Library maintains a secured, temperature controlled, Special Collections space at the National Operations Center in Denver, Colorado.

Historical Photos 

  • The Bureau of Land Management Historical Photograph collection features visual documentation of the operations, programs, public lands, and people of the Bureau of Land Management including the bureau’s predecessor agencies. The library accepts printed photographs, slides, and negatives with prior review. Images must contain metadata on or accompanying each image to be considered for addition to the photo database. Metadata to include for each image is date, name of location, names of people, and/or description of the image. Minimal metadata may be accepted under exceptional circumstances.

Oral Histories 

  • Oral history is defined as the recording, preservation, and interpretation of historical information, based on the personal experiences and opinions of the speaker. The BLM Library maintains a collection of recorded oral histories. Donations of oral histories to the BLM Library should be in mp3 format and include a release form from the interviewee whenever possible. Final exact written transcripts will be included at the time of donation in pdf format and will be cataloged and publicly shared. Transcripts must contain only the spoken interview, be organized by speakers, and must include the name(s) of the individual(s) speaking, and the date and place of the interview.

Responsible Collecting

A responsible level of collecting will be maintained by adhering to the constraints of available storage space, recognizing the staff’s ability to process material within a reasonable amount of time, and the ability to provide quality access, care, and preservation of the material.

Appraisal Policy

Library appraisal is a process conducted by a BLM librarian in which materials are examined to determine historical or scientific value for the institution. Appraisal does not refer to the assigning of any kind of monetary value to an object.

Records Schedule

Historical materials that the library retains are used for reference and research purposes. Once an item becomes part of the BLM Library's collection, it is no longer considered to be on the records schedule (36 CFR § 1222.14. What are nonrecord materials?)

Expectations of Donated Materials

Materials that librarians find appropriate for inclusion in the library’s collection, and are suitable to share, will be made available to BLM employees and the public through the BLM Library's catalog, the BLM Library's digitized collection, and the BLM Library's historical photo collection as time permits. This allows researchers and donating BLM offices to locate and access the full text of an item quickly and easily. The BLM Library reserves the right to restrict materials depending upon a variety of factors including condition of materials, confidential information (PII), and other sensitive topics or materials that may be for limited employee access only. Sensitive materials that should not be accessed will be secured outside of the library’s main collection and will not be digitized.

Access to Donated Materials

BLM Library is open for use by appointment to BLM researchers, and other interested parties including the public.

If BLM employees or retirees have materials that they believe fit this description individuals should contact the BLM Library to begin discussing the process to donate to the library's collection. To start the process to donate materials to the BLM Library reach out to or call the library at 303-236-6650.