How we acquire

The Library acquires material by legal deposit, donation, and purchase.

Legal Deposit

Legal deposit is a statutory provision which obliges publishers to deposit copies of their publications in certain libraries, usually in the country in which they are published. In the Republic of Ireland statutory provision for legal deposit is made in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000.

Legal deposit facilitates the development of our national printed archive. Frequently the National Library holds the only copy of particular material which is readily available to the public. It is the Library's stated aim to preserve and make accessible such material for future generations.

To download lists of material recently acquired under legal deposit, please see our Record of Irish Publishing page.

The following document lists those libraries entitled, under copyright legislation, to receive a free copy of all Irish publications:
LEGAL DEPOSIT 2014  LEGAL DEPOSIT 2014.pdf (0.18 MB, Adobe PDF)


Each year the National Library receives valuable donations to our collections, as can be seen from the lists appended to the Library’s Annual Reports. We are immensely grateful to the donors who have contributed so generously to the development of the national collections.

Selection criteria for donations are set out in brief in the leaflet Treasuring our Heritage: Donation of Materials to the National Library of Ireland which may be downloaded here:
Treasuring our Heritage  NLI_TreasuringOurHeritage.pdf (0.15 MB, Adobe PDF)

If you are interested in donating materials to the Library but are not sure if it meets our selection criteria, you should contact the Keeper of Special Collections at .

In certain instances - as provided for under section 1003 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 - donors may be allowed tax relief for donations of heritage items to the National Library of Ireland. This relief may apply to gifts or "heritage items" such as archives, books, estate records, manuscripts and prints where the total value of the item donated is at least €150,000 or if the donation is a collection of items, at least one item in the collection has a minimum value of €50,000. Details of the various qualifying conditions for tax relief are set out in the Revenue Commissioners website.


The Library’s acquisitions budget is used to further develop the Library’s collections, whether by direct purchase or by auction. Decisions to purchase antiquarian material and unique heritage items are made on the expert advice of the Library’s curatorial staff. Current and new publications of Irish interest, not acquired under legal deposit, are purchased as a matter of course.

Mr Brian Lalor showing some of the 79 prints and 26 drawings which he donated to the NLI in 2005.
Mr Brian Lalor showing some of the 79 prints and 26 drawings which he donated to the NLI in 2005.
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