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Policy Statement

Hartford Public Library provides a myriad of educational, cultural and civic engagement services to the community, as described in the library’s mission statement. Photography and filming, as described below, is allowed to the extent that it does not interfere with the provision of library services and is consistent with the library’s mission statement and code of conduct.
The Library is a designated public forum when it comes to First Amendment rights. In these spaces, we recognize our obligation consistent with the First Amendment to allow activities that relate to the mission of the Library – reading, writing and a quiet contemplation. Conversely, other activities, such as the right to photograph, record or film, can be restricted if they interfere with library functions or operations.
Library customers should be able to use library services without fear that their identity, location, or reading choices will be published.


The terms “photograph” or “photography”, “recording” or “filming” are used generally and refer to any method including photography, filming, videotaping or any other process of still or moving image or audiovisual capturing in any method used now or in the future.

Hartford Public Library sites include the following:

  • Downtown Main Library (500 Main Street)
  • Buildings designated as Branch libraries or service locations
  • Buildings and locations designated as interim libraries or program locations
  • Bookmobiles and kiosks
  • All other property and facilities assigned to or owned by the library Including exterior Library terraces defined as Library meeting spaces and made available through the Library’s Meeting Space policy.

Amateur Photography

Casual amateur photography by customers and visitors wanting a memento of their visit is permitted in Library facilities so long as additional equipment such as tripods and/or lighting is not used and filming only captures the image of the person filming or of people who have provided express permission to be filmed/recorded.


General Policy Regarding Permission

Permission is required for any filming or photography that could potentially disrupt operations or that will require permission from people who may be filmed while in a facility; it is also required if filming location is not readily accessible or requires special accommodation or access. Requests for permission to film, photograph or record must generally be made at least 24 hours prior. Permission should be requested on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. when the Communications Department is normally open.
Permission is not required for photographing/filming/recording in public areas if no tripods, lights or other specialized equipment is used and images of people in the library are not captured. There may be designated areas in library locations and/or exhibition areas or other areas or events where photographing is prohibited.

Approvals of Requests

The CEO, or her/his designee in the Communications Department is authorized to grant permission to photograph/film/record the interior of Library buildings, setting the conditions under which the photographing may take place, or to deny permission.


Factors Considered for Approval

The CEO, or her/his designee in the Communications Department will consider and act upon requests for permission to photograph considering:

  • The public interest
  • Statutory requirements
  • The library’s interest
  • Issues of confidentiality
  • The amount of time each project will require
  • The need to maintain impartiality among competing photographers
  • Any other purpose consistent with the status of the Library as a designated public forum that the CEO, or her/his designee in the Communications Department deems to be in the interest of the Hartford Public Library

Exterior Photography

Photographing the exteriors of Library buildings does not require permission if done from the public right-of-way. Library outdoor terraces/patios are meeting spaces and require the permission of the President and CEO or designee; photography may not impede the ingress or egress of visitors or staff to or from any Library building or outdoor meeting space. 

Media Requests

While the Hartford Public Library has an open-door policy for news media photographers and reporters whose stories directly involve the library’s programs, resources, collections, and services, obtaining advance permission is extremely important to:

  • Protect the safety and privacy of those using Library facilities and resources
  • Ensure Library business is conducted without disruption
  • Ensure that the Library’s users are not unduly disturbed
Media representatives must obtain approval from the CEO, or her/his designee in the Communications Department, and must be accompanied by a member of the HPL staff during all photographing.

Nonprofit, Academic or Research Projects

Photographers working on nonprofit, academic, or research projects that affect the operation of the Library must secure authorization in advance to avoid disrupting Library operations.
Research photography of the Library's materials and resources is permitted within certain limitations. Using Library facilities as interview venues for unrelated stories as well as photographing Library users for opinion polls or “person on the street” interviews is prohibited without prior approval from the CEO or her/his designee.
Researchers and journalists are responsible for obtaining their own permissions when photographing copyrighted material in the Library. Additional permissions must be obtained from the Hartford Public Library to photograph materials or items in special collections (Hartford History Center) because of complex copyright issues in these areas. Discussing what advanced authorizations are required with a Hartford History Center staff member can expedite this process.

Commercial Photography

Library buildings and outdoor meeting spaces may not be used as settings for a creative film or videotape, advertisements, fashion shoots or for any other photography which will be used for commercial purposes without the prior approval from the President and CEO, or designee in the Communications Department. The production company shall compensate the Library for staffing expenses necessary to open, secure, and monitor Library premises during a shoot at overtime rates.


Movie and Music Industry

The Library may permit use of its facilities by the movie or music industry for film projects where a library setting is called for, if the project does not interfere with the mission of the Hartford Public Library, is in accordance with the rest of this policy and does not advertise or promote commercial products. The production company shall compensate the Library for staffing expenses necessary to open, secure, and monitor Library premises during a shoot at overtime rates.


Library Liability for Injuries

Permission to photograph/film/record does not release the persons or groups involved from liability for injuries to persons or property that result from their activities on Library property.


Photographic Releases

Photographers filming or photographing on Library premises have sole responsibility for gaining all necessary releases and permissions from persons who can be identified in any photography. The Library undertakes no responsibility for obtaining these releases.

Photography Logistics

The Library’s CEO and/or Office of Communication may terminate any session that appears to compromise public safety or security of people, buildings, or collections.


Adopted by the Library Board of Directors: April 5, 2018

Revised: October 8, 2020

Revised: April 2024