Media, Photography, and Filming Policy

Media, Photography, and Filming Policy

The priority for Tompkins County Public Library is to provide library services to the Tompkins County community, as fully described in the Library’s Mission Statement. The filming and photography described below is allowed only to the extent that it does not interfere with the provision of Library services and is consistent with the Library’s Mission Statement and Rules.

  1. The Library Director or the President of the Board of Trustees will act as the spokesperson for the Library.
  2. All press releases, library ads, publications and public service announcements must be approved by the Library Director before release.
  3. Media requests for interviews, quotes or photographs from other TCPL staff must be approved in advance by the Library Director.

Staff and patrons cannot be filmed or photographed without permission. Note that any persons filming or photographing on Library premises have sole responsibility for gaining all necessary releases and permissions from persons who are filmed or photographed. The Library undertakes no responsibility for obtaining these releases.

Advanced authorization is required by contacting the TCPL Foundation Director, 607-272-4557 ext. 231, or

Also note that Library staff may terminate any photo or film session that appears to compromise public safety, security, patron privacy or does not meet the standards of this policy.


News Media Photography and Filming

The Library allows for photographers and reporters from news agencies to work on stories or projects that directly involve the Library and its programs.

The Library does not grant permission for news media to use its facilities for stories or projects that do not relate to the Library itself; however, research photography and filming of the Library's materials and resources are permitted within certain limitations (see "Research Photography and Filming" section below). It disallows using Library facilities as interview venues for unrelated stories, and disallows access to Library patrons for opinion polls or candid interviews within its facilities.


Student Documentary-Type Photography and Filming for Publication or Broadcast

The Library permits photography and filming of its premises and activities when the use of the photographs and films involve the Library directly, i.e. books, articles, or videos about the Library itself, the Library’s position in the county of Tompkins County as a tourist or learning destination, or as part of a piece used to describe our community’s environs.


Commercial Photography and Filming

The Library does not permit commercial photography or filming on or in its facility. This includes, but is not limited to, using Library building, grounds or interiors as a stage set for portraiture, model photography, and product photography. This includes photography or filming used to advertise goods or services unrelated to the Library for commercial sale or promotion.


Research Photography and Filming

The Library permits research photography and filming of its materials and resources within certain limitations. Researchers and journalists are responsible for obtaining their own permissions when photographing copyrighted material in the Library. Additional permissions must be obtained from the Library Administration to photograph or film materials or items in special collections because of complex copyright issues in these areas. Because of these issues, permission to reproduce materials from special collections may in some cases be denied or involve a fee.


Amateur Photography and Filming

Casual amateur photography and filming of short segments is only permitted within the General guidelines, but does not require authorization. The use of additional equipment such as lighting is not permitted. Such photography or filming should not include any other unrelated persons. Please note: library furnishings cannot be rearranged to accommodate the photographer’s wishes.


Photography and Filming for Groups and Non-Library Events in the Community Meeting Rooms, Programming Spaces, or Study Rooms

Groups arranging meetings in the Community Meeting Rooms (BorgWarner and Schwarz Jacobson), Programming Spaces (Thaler/Howell, Digital Lab, or Makerspace), or the study rooms may arrange for photographers and news media during their event. Photography and filming for such events is restricted to the space reserved by the group and may not take place in other areas of the Library. Groups must post notice of filming or photography outside the room. The following notification language should be used:

Notice: Filming and Photography in session for this event.


Approved by the Tompkins County Public Library Board of Trustees on September 24, 2019.