Photography & Photocopying Policy


  • Readers may take photographs of collection materials for their personal use. Library staff reserves the right to restrict or prohibit photography when it may physically damage materials; disrupt other readers; violate donor restrictions and purchasing agreements; or if items have been previously digitized. The following rules apply across the Library. Additional rules and procedures may be in place in the Library’s Special Collections reading rooms.
  • Patrons must comply with all reading room regulations:
    • Handheld cameras are permitted. Flash, lights, and tripods are prohibited.
    • Scanners are prohibited.
    • Cameras must be set on ‘mute’ so as not to disturb others.
    • The reading room staff will determine the manner in which materials are set up for photography.
    • Appropriate cradle or other supports for all bound items will be made available if necessary.
    • Do not press down on materials or bindings.
    • Unbound materials must be kept flat on the table.
    • Items in folders must remain in the order in which they were delivered.
    • Do not remove any fasteners.
    • Do not remove items from sleeves, mats, etc.
    • Ask for assistance if the item is large or the folding sequence is unclear when unfolding maps or foldouts in books.
    • Always use library materials on top of the table. No materials may be placed on the floor.
    • Standing on tables or chairs is not permitted.
    • Rearrangement of chairs, tables or lamps is not permitted.
    • No photographs of the staff, other researchers or certain reading rooms may be taken.
    • Photographing or filming in certain departments may only be done on assigned specific reading room tables.

Permission to Publish

  • The Library holds the physical rights only to most materials. The Library does not grant written permission for any type of use of reproductions taken by readers unless it holds copyright to it.
  • To request 300 dpi TIFF files, please visit our web site to access the NYPL Permission order form, fee schedule, and further information.


  • Library staff reviews all material before it can be photocopied.
  • Some materials, because of their fragility, rarity, or size, can only be photocopied by Library staff. Fees and page limits apply. Staff-operated photocopy services are available in certain general and special collections departments. Staff will evaluate material and process requests in a timely manner.
  • Self-service photocopying may not be approved if any of the following conditions apply:
    • Poor condition, such as fragile, brittle, faded, or damaged.
    • Too large for the surface of the copy machine.
    • From limited editions.
    • Items restricted by copyright law, donor wishes, or contractual agreement.
  • The following items may NOT be photocopied under any circumstances:
    • Original artworks, photographic artworks, and fine prints.
    • Three dimensional items.