Donating books

The Niels Bohr Library & Archives (NBLA) collects, catalogs, preserves, and makes accessible publications in the history of physics and the physical sciences. Our holdings include an outstanding collection of textbooks, monographs, serials, and related publications. These strong collections wouldn’t exist without generous materials donations from physicists, historians of science and their families.

Collection strengths

The heaviest concentration of our collection is in the period 1850-1950. For these years, NBLA collects all major editions of significant works published, both in the original language and main translations.

Collection interests and goals

NBLA aspires to extensively increase our collection of pre-modern physics and physical sciences texts, as our collection sope recently expanded beyond the history of modern physics.

  • NBLA prioritizes donations of materials published before 1850.
  • NBLA seeks books with extensive annotations by prominent scientists
  • NBLA has interest in materials not normally saved by most libraries, such as instrument catalogs and laboratory manuals.
  • NBLA works to boost collection titles in acoustics, biophysics, crystallography, geophysics, industrial physics, medical physics, meteorology, optics, rheology, science policy, science education and pedagogy, and the broader world of physical science.
  • NBLA seeks to collect diverse authors, subjects, and voices.

Materials the Library cannot accept

The Library prioritizes donations that have been gently used and stored in homes or offices, with no condition or preservation issues. Materials with mold or insect infestations will not be accepted.

The Library does not accept duplicate materials unless they have extensive notes and marginalia or special historical interest.

Materials like manuscripts, dissertations, photographs, etc will be referred to an Archivist on staff.

How to Donate

Before we accept a donation we do an assessment of whether something fits our collection policy. If it meets that qualification we then check to see if we already have it in our collection.

If you’re interested in donating there are several ways to check if we already have copies of the books that you have:

  1. Our complete book catalog is found here, and can be checked by author or title.
  2. Send us a list of your books, including author, title, publisher and year of publication. We’ll check the titles and let you know what we need.

If you are interested in donating books to NBLA or have questions, please contact Allison Rein, Associate Director of Library Collections & Services, at arein [at] aip.org or you can email our reference desk at nbl [at] aip.org