Policy Regarding Art Acquisitions, Art Loans, And Temporary Exhibits


The Trustees of the Topsfield Town Library, the Art Committee, and the Library Director have traditionally welcomed the display of art within the library and are sensitive to the experience of patrons. The library is fortunate to be a beneficiary of the George Gould Trust Fund, which specifically designates a portion of interest income from the fund for the acquisition and display of artwork.

The library seeks to acquire works of excellence to be added to a permanent collection, to accept gifts of art that meet certain criteria, and to encourage artists of all ages to exhibit their work on a temporary basis.

Selection Process

The art committee will seek works of art for the permanent collection, as space and funds permit. Recommendations by members of the community about acquiring specific works displayed by artists in individual shows will be given consideration.

The library does not limit its selection to artists from a particular area. All artworks purchased or accepted as gifts should enhance the library and be intended for public viewing. Final responsibility for acceptance of a work rests with the library director and the art committee.


Items offered to the library will be reviewed by the art committee and library director and will be presented to the library trustees for final acceptance. Items offered to the library that have not yet been accepted are left at the owner’s risk. If the art committee and the library director decide not to accept an item, the owner may reclaim the item within thirty (30) days from written notification.

Items that are accepted are considered unconditional and outright gifts to the library. Donors will be asked to read and sign a copy of the Assignment of Gift agreement.

Gifts to the library may be deductible from taxable income in accordance with the provisions of the federal income tax law. Obtaining appraisal value for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor. The library is not able to place monetary value on items, nor can it pay for an appraisal.

Art Loans

Art loans should be limited to items of very particular interest to the library. An agreement with description and loan terms of the item(s) must be drawn up by the lender and presented to the art committee and library director for approval. If a loan period is not specified, the art committee and library director must be notified thirty (30) days prior to removal of the loan. Upon acceptance, copies of the agreement will be distributed to the lender and the library’s art files.

Temporary Exhibitions

Works for temporary display or exhibition are welcomed in the library at the discretion of the library director and the art committee. The location, time, and duration of placement and removal must be under the director’s supervision. No insurance is provided by the library for such works. Please refer to the Art Exhibit Policy for additional information, requirements, and exhibitor’s form.

Exhibiting artists should read and observe the information contained in a separate sheet entitled “Art Exhibit Guidelines.”

Maintenance of Permanent Collection

The library director and the art committee will examine new acquisitions and ensure that they are photographed, priced (if available although not required), and listed in the library’s inventory. Approximately every three years an art committee member and the library director should review the art collection, and maintenance and conservation should be undertaken as needed. This may be attained by reviewing one third of the collection each year. Any changes to the inventory will be presented to the art committee and the library director with the final approval by the Board of Trustees for review and records updated accordingly.

Withdrawal of Art from the Collection

Based on recommendations of the art committee and the library director, the library trustees will be responsible for any final decision regarding the removal of a work of art. Items deaccessioned from the collection may be donated to the Friends of the Topsfield Library organization for sale. Such proceeds will be deposited in the Friends’ account and used at their discretion. In no case should items of historical value be donated to the Friends’ organization without first offering them to the Topsfield Historical Society.


Any objections about items in the library’s permanent collection must be put in writing and presented to the library director and the art committee for review. Any recommendations will then be brought to the library trustees. The trustees have final authority regarding the inclusion or exclusion of a work of art from exhibit.

Right Menu Icon