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How to Donate to the American Haiku Archives

The American Haiku Archives would not exist without the generous donation of books, papers, and other materials from interested individuals and groups. If you are considering a donation of your haiku materials, or materials from an estate for which you are a family member, friend, or an executor, the following guidance covers how to make a donation and the forms to include, and explains potential tax benefits.

Don’t throw away any haiku-related materials

When the American Haiku Archives began in 1996, Dr. Kevin Starr, the state librarian at the California State Library, said, “if in doubt, donate it —let history decide its value.” This remains the approach the American Haiku Archives promotes in preserving materials relating to the art and lives of haiku poets, scholars, and translators who might wish to donate materials to the archives. It is better to donate materials rather than to toss something that might be of value. Books are the most prominent items to donate (if we do not already have them), but private correspondence, manuscripts, diaries, journals, photographs, recordings, press clippings, and artwork (all relating to haiku) are also welcome. Some degree of biographical material and material not directly related to haiku or other poetry is also welcome if it helps to give a picture of the life of a particular haiku poet.

If the cost of shipping materials is a hindrance, please contact anyone on the AHA advisory board to see if financial assistance might be available. While we may not be able to provide financial assistance for shipping, we would rather know about your situation than to lose an historically valuable donation. The American Haiku Archives is not able to purchase collections, libraries, or papers, but may be able to raise funds needed to ship materials that would otherwise be lost or destroyed.

If you are uncertain as to the historical value of the materials under your care, or might need financial assistance to cover the shipping of materials to the archives, please contact the advisory board for guidance.

To make a donation

To help you with your donation, please download the donation form (various formats available below) and follow its instructions on donating materials. The form is a sample that you can print out and write on if you are donating just a few items, or you can use the form as a guideline for the information we need when you make your donation. You are welcome to list materials on separate sheets of paper, and they do not all have to use the form, but please do provide all the information requested (do send at least one signed form).

American Haiku Archives donation form (rtf version)
American Haiku Archives donation form (MS Word doc version)
American Haiku Archives donation form (pdf version)

Please communicate your intentions to make donations to the AHA Advisory Board, so that they can assist and answer your questions. The actual donation and completed form will go directly to the California State Library.

Search the archives

Because the library may already have specific books that you are interested in donating, please search the online catalog to see if the collection already includes them. If in doubt, please send the material anyway, or consult with an advisory board member or the California State Library staff. And if the copies of particular books are unusual in any way, such as being rare or first editions, are signed or inscribed, or if they contain notes that shed light on the owner’s perspective on the book or its content, please send those books also, even if they are duplicates, with an explanation of why you are sending them.

Tax benefits

Depending where you live, you may derive tax deductions or other estate benefits from your donation. Please consult with your attorney or, if necessary, with the California State Library staff.

According to A Guide to Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository, published by the Society of American Archivists:

In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of a manuscript collection to a repository. Donors are encouraged to speak with their tax accountants or attorneys about this possibility. Curators cannot give tax advice, nor are they permitted to appraise the monetary value of a collection.

See the web version of A Guide to Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository.


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This site is independent of and not endorsed by the California State Library. It is operated by the American Haiku Archives advisory board in support of the archives and its mission, which is to collect, preserve, and promote haiku and related poetry as a vital component of literature in the English language. Web Manager: Michael Dylan Welch.
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