Charging for copies and scans

October 29, 2008

Up to this point all the copying and scanning we have done for researchers has been free.  It was decided that we needed to get some return for our time and supplies.

I checked with all of my “buddies” on the SAA Lone Arrangers list to see how others handle it.  The responses varied widely from no charge, to $20/hr research fees.  There seemed to be a lot around the $0.25/page level.  The one I wanted just asked for a donation and gave contact information on how to send the money.

After a discussion this is what we ended up with:

There is a minimum charge of $5 per request.  This includes up to 20 black and white copies or scans of standard size.

Make checks payable to:
Warren Hunting Smith Library Associates
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
334 Pulteney St.
Geneva, NY 14456

I wanted to go with the donation because then I wouldn’t have to track anything.  I worked out a procedure with our secretary that when I send the “Policy” to someone I will cc: her.  She will notify me when she receives a check and I will send the materials.

I have a feeling this is going to cut down on the number of requests we receive.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

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3 Responses to “Charging for copies and scans”


  1. Is this a charge for copies you send to others or for those made in-house to onsite researchers? If it is off-site, you really need to charge some postage, also.

  2. What! Says:

    “I wanted to go with the donation because then I wouldn’t have to track anything.”

    sorry but someone in your organization has to track the payment whether it is a donation or payment for services. And since it is a donation someone will have to send an acknowledgement along with a receipt so that the donor can deduct the donation from their income taxes.

    Does the donation go into a general fund or has an account been set up for the archives such that materials can be purchased with the donated funds?

    I know that you surveyed others to find out what they charge, but did you do a cost analysis yourself to determine what it actually costs you to produce a single scan or photocopy?. what about the cost of materials

    “I have a feeling this is going to cut down on the number of requests we receive.”
    are you hoping that the number of requests will be reduced or do you fear that they will be reduced? two different things.
    If you are looking to reduce the requests then what is the purpose of the archives and what is your purpose at the archive. If you aren’t receiving requests how do you justify the existence of the archives?

    Maybe archivists should think more like entrepreneurs. Realize that you are selling a service/product. Charge what the market will bear. If requests go down then you’re charging too much. If you requests increase you may be able to justify hiring an individual to do the dull work ie scanning photocopying.

    and of course you need to charge for your time and materials. no business can stay in existence if they don’t.


  3. What I meant by tracking was: I wouldn’t have to wait until we got the money before doing the work. Louise, our secretary now alerts me when the money is received.

    I feared that the requests would go down. There have been a few I haven’t heard back from after telling them the charge. I’m hoping they weren’t serious requests.

    I get a lot of requests from school children about Elizabeth Blackwell. I’ve decided to digitize everything we have on her that we legally can. I don’t want the kids to have to pay or wait.


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