Digital Photography—Rare and Restricted Books

Rare Items Digital Camera Use Policy

The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary permits the use of personal handheld digital cameras for photography of designated restricted items from its main collection.

Personal photography is permitted, subject to the following conditions:

  1. All researchers who wish to use personal digital cameras must submit a request at the time they make their appointment. Users will not be permitted to take photographs without prior arrangement.

  2. There is a fee of $15 per day for the taking of photographs. If, however, it is determined by library staff that researchers require staff assistance in the taking of the photographs, the fee is $20 per hour.

  3. The Library reserves the right to deny permission to photograph materials in its collections for any reason at any time. If the reason for denial is an object's physical condition, the user may request that a conservator determine whether the object could be safely photographed by a staff photographer, in which case the user may submit an order for the production of images.

  4. The protection of items in our collections is our highest priority. Materials must be handled in accordance with our policies and procedures as articulated by Library staff. A user may be directed to cease photography at any time.

  5. Only still photos are permitted.

  6. Photography is permitted only with the flash turned off. Only the room's ambient light may be used.

  7. Images obtained through personal photography may be used only for personal reference and research purposes. They may not be disseminated to third parties, published or broadcast in any media, or displayed online. All users must sign a form assenting to these restrictions before they will be permitted to photograph.

  8. Photography is restricted to the works only. Users may not take pictures of The Library, staff members, or other users.


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 researcher makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that researcher may be liable for copyright infringement. The researcher agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary 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 The Library's materials.