The NYPL Won’t Know What Hit Them Now…

I’ve mentioned several times how I’m stuck in New York City because of the great the New York Public Library (NYPL) is. It’s my religion; its buildings are my churches, my temples. It is holy ground. Other people go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to seek God. My cathedral has lions guarding it!

nypllionsb.jpg
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

For several years now, the NYPL has been building a web presence that I think is probably the best in the country and a model for all other public libraries to emulate.

One of the absolutely stunning features of the NYPL’s website is its NYPL Digital Gallery which contains over a half million photos and other images that are generally in the public domain.

Today I was searching for Red Moon and decided to peek into the NYPL Digital Gallery. I plopped Baudelaire into the Search box and whoa! Some images of one of my gods I had never seen before!

nyplbaudelaire02a.jpg
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

nyplbaudelaire03a.jpg
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

I wanted to run them here. But there was a User’s Guide that mentioned fees for publication, including non-commercial use. Close reading revealed these fees seemed to be for actual higher-than-screen resolution prints and there was no mention of publishing in non-profit, non-commercial blogs such as this one.

I wanted those images here, so I emailed the NYPL:

I’ve read over all the relevant FAQs, User Guides, and even PDF files.

It all still leaves this question: Can images that I see on the screen — not ordering special TIFFs or anything else — be Saved As… and then used on a *blog* without any fee?

I’m a quarter-century user of the NYPL and a published author and it just seems screwy to me that you would charge for reproducing public domain images that are no more than captures of what’s shown on the screen.

My interest in this was piqued when I came across some images of Baudelaire I hadn’t seen before. (There are probably likewise images of other dead writers I’ve not yet searched for.)

My blog is not ad-supported and requires no fee to view.

And since I’ve already mentioned I have a blog, your reply may well be published in it.

Within minutes I got a reply!

Dear Mr. Cane:

Yes, you may use images from the Library’s Digital Gallery free of charge on your web Blog. Please credit as follows:

NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

Sincerely,
Thomas Lisanti
Manager, Photographic Services
& Permissions
The New York Public Library
476 Fifth Avenue, Room 103
New York, NY 10018
phone: (212) 930-0091
fax: (212) 930-0533

Is that great or what?

As word of this spreads, I expect many bloggers to go there to get images for posting.

In fact, you can expect more images from there here too.

Thank you, NYPL!

Be sure to support your local library. Ebooks aren’t enough, neither is the Internet (both, by the way, which many public libraries now offer). Public libraries are the difference between civilization and civil degeneration. Do you have a library card?

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