Camera use by researchers in the Reading Room

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The Folger Shakespeare Library allows researchers to use their personal cameras in the Reading Room. We prohibit the use of flash photography, additional lighting, scanners, tripods, templates, or other equipment. Camera shutter sounds should always be silenced.

Handling Materials

Materials must remain flat on the desk or safely in the cradle provided. Researchers may not push on bindings, stand on furniture, or disrupt fellow researchers to obtain a shot. Items encased in mylar should not be removed from their housing. The Folger Shakespeare Library reserves the right to prohibit photography of any of its collection materials.


Photography of other researchers or library staff is prohibited.

Copyright and Permissions

Researchers should credit themselves as the creator of digital images taken with a personal camera in the Reading Room.

The preferred citation format is: [Author], [Item title and date]. [Call number, signature/folio/page/other identifier, if applicable], Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC. Photographed by [your name here].

Researchers are responsible for determining if the material is in the public domain or whether the intended use is within the limits of fair use. For materials in the public domain, the researcher holds the only rights to the image and therefore does not need any permission from the Folger Shakespeare Library to use the image.

If copyright law or other restrictions protect material being used, researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from any rights holders to use the image. The Folger shall not be responsible or liable for any claim of infringement or damage that may occur due to the use of any material that the Folger makes available.

For materials in the public domain, social media sharing of personal digital photographs is encouraged. Images should mention the Folger or use the hashtag #FolgerFinds.

Personal digital photographs may not be adequate for some online or print publication uses. For information on obtaining high-resolution digital files, consult our digital image database or order images here. There are service costs associated with fulfilling requests for high-resolution digital files.