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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Photo Guidelines

The Division for Libraries and Technology (DLT) within the WI Department of Public Instruction and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) welcome the use of photos and images in media posts. Using photos and images is a great way of sharing stories that develop during your project. However, grantees must comply with all applicable laws in an effort to use images appropriately. This document serves as a step-by-step guideline for image usage for contributions.

1. Before Posting Photos – DLT encourages contributors to post photos for six month and final evaluations. Before posting, please take the following steps:

  • Familiarize yourself with Creative Commons  and the correct application of its licenses
  • Search a rights-free photograph site. There are a wide variety of sources (such as NASA, US National Park Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service) for images which exist in the public domain
  • Think about appropriate attribution for your photos, who deserves credit for the photo that you are sharing?

2. Using Your Own Photos – You may want to use your own photo. This can be a wonderful solution, but it is important to think about the subjects in your pictures. Before submitting your own photos to DLT, please consider stating that you are the photographer and contributor of the image as part of a caption, a “mouse over” description or in some link back to the picture’s source.

If you are using your own picture, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are identifiable adults captured in the picture? If so, do you have a signed waiver for those individuals?
  • Are identifiable children (anyone under age 18) captured in the picture? If so, do you have a waiver signed by both guardian/parent and child?
  • All photographs containing images of identifiable children require verifiable consent from the child’s guardian or parent. These waivers, signed by both the parent and the child, must be obtained and kept on file at your library. Photo waivers are available here:

Library Photo Release Form

Child Photo Release Form

3. Using Photos from Other Sources

If using a photo that a friend gave you:

  • Please make sure your friend has given you permission to share the photo.
  • When you submit your photo, make sure to give the photo the correct attribution, listing the photographer’s name
  • When using a photo that captures individuals, please check that your friend has gotten permission from the subjects to share this photo. Images with identifiable people must have a waiver on file at your library.

If you are using a rights-free photo that you found on a website:

  • Make sure that you link back to the original source (i.e. a link to the Flickr page where you found your photo)

If you are using a photo of a book cover:

  • Using book cover images can be a tricky proposition. In general, we advise you to use images of book covers that come from publishers’ or authors’ websites
  • If you use a book cover image from a publisher’s or author’s website, always link back to the website

4. Using Photos from Conferences

If you are using a photo from a conference and it includes identifiable adults, you should make sure that you have verifiable consent. If your photo includes identifiable children, you should make sure that you have verifiable consent from both guardian and child.

Please direct questions about these guidelines to:
Terrie Howe, LSTA Program Coordinator, (
Teresa.Howe@dpi.wi.gov), 608-266-2413 OR
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Youth and Special Services,
Tessa.Schmidt@dpi.wi.gov), 608-267-5077