Photography and Video Recording Policy


To establish guidelines for the collection and use of photographs and videos by the staff of the Mahwah Public Library (hereinafter “Library”), and, to establish under which conditions photos or videos may be taken by the public, creative film industry or news media (“third person”).


The duty of fulfilling the Library’s mission is its first priority and 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 stipulated rules regulations and policies. Filming on Library property should not be construed to imply Library endorsement of the film or its message.

All photographic, video, or audio recordings made within the Library facilities must be authorized by the Library Director or his/her designee.  Use of Library facilities for photographs, video, or audio recording is governed by the Board of Trustees of the Mahwah Public Library, whose resolutions formulate the policy for staff and patrons to follow.

Use of Library locations requires special permission in most circumstances. For example, special permission is needed for access to certain areas where video shoot activities might interrupt the normal flow of patron activity, business, or traffic; or where a video shoot might interfere with staff workflow and concentration. 

Note that any third person granted permission to film or photograph on Library premises will 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. Since the mission of the Library is to provide and promote an atmosphere conducive to education, lifelong learning, and research, it reserves the right to limit photographic, video, or audio recording activities to assure that this atmosphere is maintained.  In general, access will be limited to public and public service areas of the Library.  Access to staff areas and other areas closed to the public may be evaluated and approved on a case-by-case basis.

Please note:

  1. All third persons involved in filming and photography are expected to follow the Library’s policies.
  2. Library staff may terminate any photo session that appears to compromise the Library’s policies, public safety or security.
  3. Failure to obtain releases and permissions from persons being filmed or photographed will be deemed unacceptable behavior for purposes of enforcing the Library's mission and policies and will result in immediate termination of the project.
  4. The Library Director reserve the right to determine the appropriateness of any proposed content. No negative presentations, perceptions created or portrayals of the Library, nor any negative Librarian stereotypes, will be agreed upon.


Photography for Library Purposes

The Library periodically sponsors or conducts classes or events during which there may be photographs or videos of participants. Since the Library is a public facility, photos and videos of adults and children attending these classes or events may be taken and used for Library purposes.  Library staff that are working during a Library event and are responsible for taking photos/videos will be wearing appropriate Library identification and where required shall introduce themselves to potential subjects that may be featured in photography/video images for the Library.

Attendance at a Library sponsored class or event constitutes the consent of all attendees, and the consent of the parents or legal guardians of any minor children in attendance, to the future broadcast, publication, or other use of photographs, videos or other recordings at the sole discretion of the Library.

The Library may utilize photos and videos from public programs and events at Library facilities and Library spaces on its website, social media, and in Library publications. Photos, images, and videos submitted to the Library by users for online galleries or contests may also be used by the Library for promotional purposes. To ensure the privacy of all individuals, including children, images will not be identified using full names or personal identifying information without written approval from the photographed subject, parent or legal guardian. 

Photography in Conjunction with Room Rentals

Community organizations holding scheduled events or meetings in the library study or meeting rooms may arrange for their own photography or videotaping/recording of their event. Such photography and videotaping is restricted to the space reserved by the group, the people in the group, and the group is responsible for any necessary releases and permissions.

Amateur Photography

Casual amateur photography and videotaping is permitted in Library facilities by patrons and visitors wanting a remembrance of their visit provided that the photography does not interfere in any way with Library operations or capture any identifiable likenesses of individuals without their permission.  Any such photographers are responsible for arranging all necessary releases and permissions from persons who are filmed or photographed. Except as otherwise permitted in the section “Photography for Library Purposes,” under no circumstances may anyone take a photo or film a Library patron without the express consent of the individual, or their parent/guardian, if a minor.  The use of additional equipment such as lighting is not permitted.

News Media Photography

The Library has an open door policy for news media photographers and reporters who are doing stories or projects that directly involve the Library and its programs. Authorization for news media photography must be obtained in advance from the Library Director.

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 of the Library's materials and resources are permitted within certain limitations (see "Research Photography" section below). It disallows using Library facilities as interview venues for unrelated stories, and disallows access to library patrons for opinion polls or man on the street interviews within its facilities.

Documentary-Type Photography for Publication or Broadcast

The Library permits photography of its premises and activities when the use of the photographs involves the Library directly, i.e. books, articles, or videos about the Library itself, the Library’s role as a destination for lifelong learning in the township, or as part of a piece used to describe the region’s environs. Authorization for documentary photography must be obtained in advance from the Library Director.

Research Photography

The Library permits research photography of its materials and resources within certain limitations.  Due to the rarity and delicate nature of archival materials held in the Library’s local history collection and other special collections, authorization to photograph these items must be obtained from the Library Director to photograph these items.  Because of these issues, permission to reproduce materials from these divisions may in some cases be denied or involve a fee. Please discuss your needs with a staff member in these areas before planning your project to obtain advance authorization.

Researchers and journalists are responsible for obtaining their permissions from the copyright holder when photographing copyrighted material in the Library, including items in the local history collection. 

Movie, Broadcast Television, Cable, and Music Industries

The Library will permit use of its facilities by the movie, television, cable or music industries for filming major entertainment projects where a library setting is called for, if the project does not interfere with the mission of the Mahwah Public Library, is in accordance with the rest of this policy and does not advertise or promote commercial products.

Because the Library wishes to avoid any appearance, no matter how slight, of impropriety or impression of political preference, the Library will not permit filming related to political campaigns or to partisan issues.

Those projects permitted in this category must be approved in advance through the Library Director and Board of Trustees, with details worked out in advance with the Library. Such filming may take place only during hours approved by the Library Director, and all technical staff, including talent, and equipment for the entertainment shoot must not interfere with Library staff and patron activity.

Should any time be deemed necessary and approved by the Library for access to the Library premises outside the Library’s hours of operation  all costs associated to have Library personnel and separate security (such as an off-duty police officer) necessary to open, secure, and remain on the premises during such shoot, will be billed and paid at overtime rates in advance by the production company.

Commercial Photography

The Library does not permit commercial photography on or in its facilities. This includes, but is not limited to, using library buildings, 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.

 Adopted by the Mahwah Public Library Board of Trustees 4/17/2019.

100 Ridge Road, Mahwah, NJ, 07430 201.529.READ