Information about reproduction, credit lines, citations and photography

The information below should answer all of your questions. If not, please don't hesitate to email me for clarification. 


If you already have an image published by the Library, or you can get it elsewhere, you will not need to notify us when using the image.

You do not need permission from the Library of Congress to publish. 

The Library does not give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections.  You can find more information here:


If a satisfactory image is available on our website, please feel free to download this at no cost.

If no usable image is alread available online there are two types of duplication in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division:


If you would like the library to photograph an image for you, there will be a reproduction fee.  Please know the exact information that you would like reproduced and send your request to Duplication Services You can also find a summary of their services, procedures, and fees at this site.  Please see more information about the types of duplication available at the library below. 

REFERENCE PHOTOGRAPHS: In the Rare Book Reading Room we allow limited patron photography that we call 'reference photographs' only after consulting with a librarian.  We allow patrons to take no more than ten reference photographs.  This is meant to be a courtesy to researchers who need to transcribe large swaths of information when no other reprint or reproduction is available.  We do not plan or take appointments for photo-shoots.  We do not guarantee picture quality (and lighting may be tricky).  Flash and tripods are prohibited and a librarian will be present as photos are taken.  Because we require a librarian be present, we ask that this be done as expeditiously yet as carefully as possible.


We do not charge for a 'right of reproduction fee' or 'permission fee' as it is sometimes called.  If you would like to reproduce an image that you received from us, there is no charge. 


We ask that if you have not manipulated the image beyond recognition, to please include a credit line.  If the intent is to use the image for reasons beyond personal research and/or school projects, we would request that the Library of Congress be credited as the source.

Here are some sample credit lines:

Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC

If the item is part of a special collection, please name the special collection:

Margaret Armstrong Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC


Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC


Works first published in the United States before 1923 and foreign works before 1909 are in the public domain and are outside of copyright. You can publish these works without investigating further.  To learn more about copyright or request the copyright status of a piece (fee-based search), please see this page:

Library of Congress educational material, guides, and timelines available on our websites are in the public domain.

We hope that this is helpful; If not, please feel free to submit your question to begin a conversation with a Reference Librarian. 


Last Updated: Jun 24, 2020
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Additional Ways to Contact Us

Send written correspondence to:

Rare Book and Special Collections Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, D.C. 20540-4740