Digital Photography Policy

Readers are permitted to take their own photographs for study purposes in the Reading Room with a handheld camera or small mobile device.  Larger devices must be approved by staff at the service desk prior to use.  Extra care must be taken with large cameras as they can damage material if dropped.  Lanyards worn around the wrist or neck are encouraged.

Images intended for publication (web or print) must be ordered from our Digital Studio. It is the responsibility of the reader to keep complete and accurate citations (call numbers, accession numbers, ID numbers, page numbers, and box and folder numbers) for all items photographed.  Requests for subsequent orders for high‐resolution images for publication will not be processed without this information.

Please Note: Photographs may not be taken of the reading room, the lobby, staff members or other readers.

1) Authorization. As part of the registration process, you agree to the rules and regulations regarding personal photography in the reading room. If you have any questions, please ask staff at the Service Desk or email

2) What may be photographed. Many Beinecke Library collection materials may be digitally photographed. However, in some cases, the reader may be asked to submit a request for professional photography from the Digital Studio due to size or condition of the material. The final determination will be made by the Reading Room staff during the reader’s visit.

3) Cameras permitted. Handheld cameras and mobile devices such as phones or small tablets may be used. Other equipment, such as personal overhead scanners or tabletop camera mounts, must be approved by the desk staff prior to use. The reader must take extreme care that their equipment does not rest nor fall on collection material. 

4) Photographic methods. Only overhead capture is acceptable. Material must be photographed on the table surface. Readers may not alter the supports of rare books or aesthetically arrange material on foam. Placing material on the floor or standing on the furniture is strictly prohibited.

5) Handling rules. Never touch material while photographing; no pressure may be applied to the object. Material should not be removed from Mylar or from any mounts, nor should any unopened printed material be opened, nor paper clips or staples removed. Please report any of these situations to the Service Desk staff. Snakes or foams are available to safely photograph material.

6) Confidentiality of other researchers. Readers must be sensitive to others conducting research in the reading room; readers may be asked to delay their photography if the activity is disturbing other readers. Photographs may not be taken of the reading room, the lobby, staff members or other readers. The Library reserves the right to deny requests or revoke permission for any reason at any time.

Copyright compliance. It is the policy of Beinecke Library that no entire collection or book can be copied or photographed. Readers agree to use digital surrogates for private research only. Readers must read and sign this copyright agreement form acknowledging that it is their responsibility to obtain relevant permission from copyright owners in the event they decide to publish their work.


The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a reader makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that reader may be liable for copyright infringement. The reader agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Yale University 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 library materials.


Yale University Non‐disclosure Agreement. The materials that I have requested may contain Social Security numbers. I agree that I will not record, reproduce, or disclose any Social Security number that may be included in the materials that I have requested. I understand that violation of this Agreement may result in the loss of research privileges at Yale University. General Release. The reader agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Yale University 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 library