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Art Acquisition Policy


The Trustees of the Topsfield Town Library 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 library’s 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 Board of Library Trustees.


Items offered to the library will be reviewed by the Art Committee and, upon the Committee’s approval, 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 trustees decide not to accept an item, the owner may reclaim the item within thirty days from written notification.

Items that are accepted by the trustees 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.

Long-Term Loans

Long-term loans should be limited to items of very particular interest to the library and may need to be added to the library insurance policy. An agreement with description, terms and appraised value of the item(s) must be drawn up by the lender and presented to the trustees for approval. Upon acceptance, copies of the agreement will be distributed as follows: one to the town for insurance purposes, one to the lender, and one for the library art insurance files. Return of all such items to the lender should be signified on the agreement form with subsequent removal from library insurance coverage.

Temporary Exhibitions

Works for temporary display or exhibition are welcomed in the library at the discretion of the director. 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. A list of all works must be left at the main desk with identifying names and prices along with the artist’s name, address and phone number. The artist must transact sales of such works and, while the library does not accept a commission, a donation of 15% of the proceeds to the Friends of the Library is welcomed.

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

Maintenance of Permanent Collection

A library trustee or the art committee chairperson will examine new acquisitions and ensure that they are photographed, priced, and listed in the library’s inventory. Two additional copies of this information should be made and given to the town and the insurance company. The new artwork should then be added to the town’s insurance coverage. Approximately every three years a library trustee should review the art collection, and maintenance and conservation should be undertaken as needed. Any changes to the inventory will be presented to the trustees for review, and a copy sent to the town’s insurance representative.

Withdrawal of Art from the Collection

Based on recommendations of the Art Committee, the library trustees will be responsible for any final decision regarding the removal of a work of art. Items de- accessioned 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 trustees. The trustees have final authority regarding the inclusion or exclusion of a work of art from exhibit.

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