Brownell Library Policy on Photography and Video Recording


The Brownell Library has a legal obligation and interest in ensuring an environment that allows patrons to freely access library information and resources, without unwarranted interruption or an invasion of privacy. Library patrons and staff have the right to be free from harassment, intimidation, and threats to their safety and privacy. In order to protect the First Amendment rights of all users of the Brownell Library, this policy places time, place and manner restrictions to maintain safety and continuous library operations. 


1) Patrons are free to take photos and videos outside of the Library building and outside grounds, so long as the actions of the patrons do not interfere with the ability of other patrons or staff to enter or exit the Library building

2) The use of photographic equipment – such as tripods or lighting – is not permitted because of safety, liability and other issues, unless previously authorized by the Library Director or designee. Library staff members may stop any photography or video recording that appears to interfere with the Library’s ability to conduct business, or that compromises public safety or security. 

3) Photographers/videographers are asked to be respectful of other Library users and their expectation of privacy when using the Library and to observe the following: 

a) Refrain from disturbing other Library users (examples: making noise, using tripods or flash photography).
Taking photos/video of specific, copyrighted (or otherwise protected) materials for the purpose of redistribution is not permitted. 

b) Taking photos, video, or audio of any person in restrooms is prohibited; is illegal; and will be reported to the Essex Police Department immediately. 

c) Taking photos/video, or audio of any person in staff-only areas is prohibited.

d) Any patron who plans on photographing/taking video for commercial purposes (i.e. by posting to social media sites, blogs or other websites that the patron collects monetary or other compensation from); who plans to utilize tripods or other devices that may impede accessibility, or that has the potential to disrupt Library operations, must receive permission from the Library Director or designee and schedule an appointment at least three business days in advance. The Library will charge a fee to offset expenses incurred by providing access to photographers and videographers who monetize their recordings. 

e) Members of the media are asked to notify the Library Director or designee prior to or upon entering the Library to alert staff of the intent to photograph or video inside the Library. When possible, staff in the facility will be notified in advance to avoid potential interruption of library services and operations. Members of the media shall provide identification that clearly indicates the name of their media organization.

f) Library staff shall make every attempt to inform all patrons using the 

Library that photography or recording is taking place. This may occur as a public announcement or as part of a program registration process.

g) Brownell Library staff may photograph and record programs and events for library publicity and promotional purposes. Library staff shall wear their name tags when engaged in photography or recording. Library staff shall notify members of the public when photography and video recording is taking place, and any patrons who do not want to be photographed or recorded will be respected. 

4) Patrons who would like to take “selfies,” photograph/video their family members/friends, or simply wish to record the building aesthetics must respect the privacy of others and insure that their photography/video does not capture anyone outside of their party, unless they have written permission from that person. 

5) The Library has a responsibility to protect its resources and collections. Photography or video recording that could potentially damage or compromise Library materials or equipment will not be allowed.

6) Photographs or videos taken inside the Library must not violate any copyright laws. If the photographer or videographer wishes to use the images or footage for any commercial purposes, they must obtain permission from the Library Director or designated staff member and provide appropriate attribution.

7) All meetings of the Brownell Library Trustees are public meetings pursuant to Vermont Law. Any person may photograph, video or otherwise record public meetings of the Trustees.

8) The Brownell Library staff may ask any person violating this policy to cease and desist. If any person fails to cease and desist after a request to do so, that person will be asked to leave the Library premises. Failure to comply with this policy may result in the loss of Library privileges.

By following this policy, we believe that we can ensure a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all Library patrons and staff.

This policy was approved by the Board of Trustees of the Brownell Library, april 18, 2023.