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Photos @ Your Library

November 1, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I did a photo project called “A Week in the Life.” The point of the project is to take pictures of anything and everything that goes on in my life for seven days. After the pictures are taken, a scrapbook is created using most of the pictures. I let people know that I was doing it. I told my classmates, my boss, and my coworkers.

I work at a public library. Let me paraphrase the response that I received from my boss. He told me that I should let my coworkers know that I was doing this photo project, and ask their permission to take any photos. So I did that. He also said that staff and patrons are not really allowed to take photos in the library and that I should make sure that I don’t include patrons in my photos. 

OK, fine. Don’t include patrons in the pictures, no problem. But staff and patrons aren’t supposed to take photos in the library? Excuse me? It makes me think of an article I recently saw in Marketing Library Services about laws for using library photos. You can find the article here Laws for Using Photos You Take at Your Library. I understand that there are privacy laws. That makes sense. But we’re not supposed to take pictures of the library? that doesn’t make sense. It just seems like free advertising to me. It gets our name out there. And I think people would enjoy seeing photos of the library.
Sometimes I think we take privacy a little too far. We’ve talked a lot about making the library transparent, and this is an easy way to do it. We should be welcoming photos of the library ( maybe sans patrons), and be willing to see them go up on the web.

Just my two cents.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. mkilty permalink
    November 2, 2008 12:12 pm

    I agree, 100%. I even wonder if the “Laws for Using photos” articles is taken too seriously. We are living in an entire new world when it comes to photos, privacy, etc. Honestly, I don’t expect a “right to not have my photo taken” in this world. Cameras are everywhere in our culture, if you do something stupid you probably will get caught by a camera. We keep trying to go by old laws that don’t understand the technology. Isn’t there somewhere to meet in the middle?

  2. bgoodwyn permalink
    November 5, 2008 3:15 pm

    My Mom was on the library board in Midlothian back in the 80s and she sent library articles to the local paper. One time, she thanked the husband of another board member in print for hanging some signs in the library and she got reamed out by the board member for doing this. Turns out the guy was on disability for a fake injury (I think it was fake) and thought his cover would be blown if someone found out he was doing anything mildly physical. These people happened to live in back of us, and I saw him cutting tree limbs, hauling out the trash, etc. all the time. So maybe that’s why people want their privacy, because they are all up to no good. Gee, I guess anyone with a little motivation could get the guy’s name from this comment, with a little detective work. Or I could just tell you his name is…

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