Photography and Recordings Policy


The purpose of this policy is to set guidelines that balance the privacy rights of library staff and patrons with the reasonable use of cameras for photography and recording on public property, which the library is considered. For the purposes of this policy, “recordings” includes video, audio, and live streaming. “Photography” includes still images.

Photography and Recordings by Library Patrons

While the library is a public place, it is considered a “limited public forum” under federal law. Public libraries may reasonably restrict the exercise of free speech rights in their buildings, particularly when the conduct would disrupt or interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the Library by its patrons or the ability of staff to engage in normal library operation.

Subject to the preceding paragraph, permission is not required to take photographs or recordings in the public areas of the library for personal, non-commercial use.  Photographs and recordings are not allowed in non-public areas unless prior written consent is given by the Library Director. Permission to photograph any person under 18 years of age must be obtained from a parent/guardian on behalf of said minor. if non-specialized equipment is used. 

Library staff reserve the right to stop anyone from taking photographs or recordings if it compromises a patron or staff member’s right to privacy, results in disruption of normal library operation, is deemed to be harassing, intimidating, or threatening toward a patron or staff member, or if the activity blocks walkways, doors, or stairways. Taking photographs and recordings of the exterior building and grounds does not require permission but the activity may not impede the entrance to the building.

Public Meeting Spaces

As stated in the “Photography and Recordings by Library Patrons” section of this policy, photographing and video recording is permitted in public spaces, including in meeting rooms, so long as it does not result in the disruption of the meeting. This includes the recording of library board meetings.

Photography and Recordings by Library Staff

Staff of the Cedarburg Public Library may take pictures, audio recordings or video recordings of events at the library to use for news stories or publicity, in either print or online. These photographs and/or audio or video recordings may appear in future publications without the permission of the person being photographed and/or audio or video recorded. The images may also be posted on the library’s website, in marketing materials, and on social media networks such as Facebook. Library patrons consent to the use of their photo or audio or video recording taken at the Library or during Library events, unless they specifically inform a librarian or the staff member in charge of the program attended of an objection to such use. This policy extends to photographs and recordings by library staff at any of the library’s outreach events in the community. Library staff will announce that photography or recording may occur during an event and any objection can be relayed to the staff member.

Library Security Use of Video Recordings

The Cedarburg Public Library maintains a safe and secure environment for its staff and patrons and as such, selected public areas of the library premises are under continuous video surveillance and recording. Signs disclosing video surveillance are posted at the library. It is the intent of the library to retain all recorded images based on server storage capacity and its record retention policies. Access to the recordings are only available to staff members. Video recordings from the library’s surveillance system are subject to WI Public Records Law requests.

Library Security Video General Guidelines

Video recordings will be used to identify the person or persons responsible for library policy violations, criminal activity, or actions considered disruptive to normal library operations.  Video recordings may be used to assist law enforcement agencies in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. Video recordings of incidents can be retained and reviewed as long as considered necessary by the Library Director or designee. Images may be shared with other library staff to identify person(s) banned from library property and to maintain a safe and secure environment.

Liability and Enforcement

Members of the public who take photographs or recordings are solely liable for any injuries to persons or property that result from their activities on Library property. They are responsible for obtaining necessary releases and permissions required by law and obtaining consent or other permission when taking photographs or recordings of copyrighted material. Library staff reserve the right to ask any individual or group who violates this policy to cease taking photographs or recordings on library property, and to revoke access to the library to hose who refuse to comply with requests of staff consistent with this policy.

Approved by the Cedarburg Library Board of Trustees

Dec. 6, 2023