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Basic Camera Copying in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730


Researchers are permitted to use a camera/phone to copy images in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room as a "visual notetaking" aid to research. Before beginning to copy, researchers are asked to sign a form agreeing to the conditions below.


I request permission to make a simple photographic copy of a P&P image using a camera/phone with no other equipment. (Note: Video recording and broadcasting must be cleared in advance with the reference librarian on duty.)

Please be aware:

  • copying under these conditions will not produce professional level copies, but rather reference copies. If you need publication quality copies, you should use the Library of Congress Duplication Services.
  • staff do not pull original materials for copying if surrogates exist (e.g., digital images, photocopies).

You must follow these rules while making your copies:

  1. Use cameras/phones only at tables that have the camera symbol; staff may ask you to use a particular table.
  2. Use only the camera/phone. Tripods, weights, cardboard, lights (including flash) are not permitted. If using a phone or tablet, turn off all sounds and notifications, including camera shutter sounds.
  3. You must place items flat on the table unless staff supply you with equipment on which items should be placed.
  4. Do not remove images from plastic covers and do not open mats.
  5. Do not place images on chairs, window sills, or the floor (stepstools are available that may enable you to better position yourself above the image).

If you do not understand the guidelines above, staff will be happy to offer clarification. If you do not comply with with all of the above, you will no longer be allowed to copy.

I will abide by the above. I understand that the Library can neither grant nor deny permission to publish material in its collection, and that it is the user's responsibility to determine the copyright status or obtain required permissions before publishing materials from the Library's collections.

Name: __________________________________________ Date:_________________________
(please print)  
Signature: ______________________________________________________

Prepared by: Prints and Photographs Division staff, Last revised: Nov. 2019.


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  October 22, 2010
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