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Photocopying of Prints & Photographs Division Materials by Patrons

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


All items must be shown to staff to determine whether they may be photocopied on photocopy machines. Not all P&P items may be photocopied because of concerns about the preservation of original images.

As a general rule, the following items may NOT be photocopied:

  1. Items in poor condition, i.e., fragile, brittle, faded, or damaged items.
  2. Items with format and medium considerations:
    • items too large for the surface of the copy machine
    • bound volumes, albums, and booklets (except, in general, reference books)
    • individually cataloged curatorial items, such as fine prints
    • Case (rare) books
    • color items and cyanotypes (except, in general, color surrogates).
  3. Items 70 years old or older.

There are several alternative ways to obtain copies of images that may not be photocopied on copy machines:

  1. Printouts of digitized images may be obtained from reading room public workstations, free of charge.
  2. Digitized images may be downloaded from the reading room public workstations, free of charge. Patrons must provide their own USB storage devices. Written instructions for downloading at the workstations are available in the reading room. In using a workstation to download, users agree that they understand they are responsible for assessing the rights to downloaded images and securing any necessary permissions for use.
  3. Digitized images may be downloaded to researchers' own wireless devices using the Library's wireless connection. In using the wireless connection, users agree that they understand they are responsible for assessing the rights to downloaded images and securing any necessary permissions for use.
  4. Simple, hand-held camera copying is allowed under P&P's camera-copying policy.
  5. Quality reproductions of images may be purchased through the Library's Duplication Services or other vendors (see Reproductions of Prints & Photographs Division Images).

Prepared by: Prints and Photographs Division staff; last revised: February 2005; last revised May 2012.


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  March 25, 2022
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