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Policy for the Use of Personal Cameras in The Bancroft Library Reading Room

Personal Camera Use Policy
Personal Camera Use FAQ


Personal Camera Use Policy

There is a charge of $10 per day to use a camera in the Reading Room.

Personal cameras may be used in The Bancroft Library Reading Room under certain conditions, depending on the physical condition of materials, copyright law, and the rules of the Reading Room. This policy seeks to balance research needs and collection preservation while minimizing disruption to other patrons.

Reading Room staff will assess the physical condition of items to be photographed. If an item is too fragile, photography will not be allowed. Please ask about other available options. All patrons wishing to take digital photographs of Bancroft Library materials must complete this request form and comply with the rules specified below.

  • Photographs must be for personal use only. Patrons interested in acquiring high resolution, publishable images for a fee should ask the Reference Librarian about options. A completed citation flag must be included in each shot. PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN IN THE READING ROOM MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, POSTED ON THE INTERNET, DONATED OR SOLD TO ANOTHER REPOSITORY, OR EXHIBITED. However, they MAY be used in class assignments or unpublished theses. Photography is meant to reduce the need for photocopies and to supplement note taking, not to create a complete personal copy.

  • Users are responsible for complying with copyright law. Users are required to sign the Camera Use Policy Agreement. By signing this document, users agree to indemnify and hold harmless The Bancroft Library, its agents and employees against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of these photographs.

  • Use of flash equipment is prohibited. Users may be asked to take a test shot to demonstrate that the flash component of your camera is deactivated before proceeding. Please see the FAQ below for other prohibited accessories.

  • Handle the material with care. If the physical condition of a volume will allow photography, Reading Room staff may assist in positioning the item such that it is fully supported. Do not lay a book flat, attempt to open a volume more than its spine will easily allow, or push down on the leaves of the book to flatten it. Manuscript material must be photographed in its folder, in the order in which it has been arranged. Multiple sheets may not be removed to photograph in a single shot. Please ask if you need assistance.

  • Library staff, the Reading Room, or other researchers may not be photographed. Care must be taken not to disturb others.

  • These and any additional instructions given by Reading Room staff must be followed by users.

Personal Camera Use FAQ

  • What equipment may or may not be used?
    • Personal cameras, cell phones in airplane mode (telephone capability disabled), library book cradles, floor-based tripods, foam supports, and snakes may be used.
    • No flatbed scanners, laptop cameras, tabletop tripods, video cameras, camera bags, flash, lights, copy stands, extension cords, audio, or stools.
    • Furniture may not be rearranged. Patrons may not stand on chairs or tables.
    • Material may not be placed on the floor or any surface but the table in use.
    • Material may not be folded or removed from sleeves or mats. Staff will assist when fasteners must be removed.

  • What may or may not be photographed?
    • Any item in the collection that has been approved for reading room use. Cameras may also be used in the microfilm room as long as the work of other patrons is not disrupted.
    • If an item has a publicly accessible digital surrogate, patrons will be referred to that online surrogate.
    • Materials received on Interlibrary Loan may not be photographed unless specifically allowed on the loan agreement.
    • Preservation needs always take precedence over photography needs.

  • What procedures are required for identification of materials?
    • Patrons must identify the item(s) they photograph within the frame of their shots. The Library will supply citation streamers (The Bancroft Library, call number, container number/notes) to users. If appropriate, a streamer may be reused in multiple shots.
    • Bancroft staff will not be able to supply citation information at a later date for any items photographed without a citation streamer.

  • What limits to quantity of material photographed?
    • There are no limits, but photography is meant to reduce the need for photocopies and to supplement note taking, not to create a complete personal copy.
    • Time limits may be assigned when other patrons are waiting to use the space.

  • Is it permissible to photograph copyrighted material?
    • The Library assumes no responsibility for the determination of copyright status or copyright infringement on the part of our users, nor does it prohibit users from making copies for private study, scholarship, or research. Users are responsible for complying with copyright law.

  • Where will photography be permitted?
    • Readers wishing to use digital cameras may sit anywhere in the reading room. They must prominently display their reader's cards with the red camera and PAID stamps.

  • What supervision will be provided?
    • Reference desk staff will be present in the reading room at all times to monitor photography, and will provide citation flags.
    • Reading Room staff reserve the right to refuse photography privileges when deemed necessary.

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