general answer


The questioner did not respond to a message asking for more details about the materials (it was sent a couple of days after the question was submitted, so presumably they found a new home for [or got rid of] their magazines by then).

But here is a more general answer, or at least caution, for people with materials (especially periodicals) to donate:

As a public librarian, I can say that, while gifts can be very welcome and useful, we add only a small percentage of donated items to the collection. Condition is a big factor (if something looks used, odds are it will not be considered), as is currency (i.e. how up-to-date is it, if that's relevant) and need (do half our branches already have a copy sitting on their shelves?). There is a cost in staff time involved in adding a donated item to the collection (linking it to a bibliographic record, possibly even buying a bibliographic record if the title wasn't already in the library's system), printing out a spine label, etc.), so nothing is "free."

The picture becomes more complicated when the gift is issues of a magazine or audiovisual materials. In the case of periodicals -- does the library system subscribe to the publication already? Does your particular branch? Does the library subscribe to a periodical database that indexes the publication (which might indicate they wouldn't want the print version, even though of course electronic access is different from physical ownership)? Does the library have enough of a research mission that it might be interested in even a partial run of a publication so that it can plug in gaps in its collection? How far back does the library keep issues of periodicals? And so on.

In the case of A/V materials -- one of my cousins (a rock music critic) told me a few years ago, miffed, about how he had been met with a less than enthusiastic response from a local public librarian he'd approached with an offer of a large donation of CDs. If I remember correctly, the library didn't have a CD collection already, so he was sure that the staff would be all over him. He was surprised at my own response, which laid out a series of logistical issues the library would have to deal with if they accepted his offer: They have to purchase a bibliographic record for each CD. They have to figure out how to process the CDs (genre labels? call number labels?). They would probably have to purchase special security cases. They have to determine a new loan policy for CDs (how long can they be kept out? what's the late fee? how many times can they be renewed?) They have to figure out where to shelve them. Etc. Again -- donations are not actually cost-free to the library.

You can get a sense online of how some public libraries have articulated their donations policies, and of course you should contact your local library if you have a question about whether it's worth bringing your donations in for consideration.

A university librarian responds: "I would advise [a potential donor] to search WorldCat to see how widely held their cast offs were and to possibly identify a likely local library that way. If the magazine was pretty widely held, I would
approach my local infoshop, or any infoshop I liked. Maybe post something to Also contact a local books-to-prisoners group or even local prisons?"

Related Question