May 17, 2022

New Open Access Policy: The Newberry’s Digital Collections (Including 1.7 Million Digital Images) Are Now Available for Re-Use Without Licensing or Permission Fees

From The Newberry in Chicago:

2018-03-09_22-33-22The Newberry has announced a major revision to its policy regarding the re-use of collection images: images derived from collection items are now available to anyone for any lawful purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial, without licensing or permission fees to the library.

Applying to everything from the pictures researchers take in the library’s reading rooms to the 1.7 million high-resolution Newberry images currently available online, the revised policy is intended to encourage users to interact more freely with collection items as they produce new scholarly and creative work.


Many Newberry items now available online are part of the public domain, and can be used and shared freely without violating copyright law. These items include more than 30,000 French Revolution pamphlets recently added to Internet Archive and made available as a data set as part of a “Digitizing Hidden Collections” grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Though the Newberry no longer assesses permissions fees, users remain responsible for determining whether material is in the public domain, whether it is protected by copyright law or other restrictions, or whether a particular activity constitutes fair use.

The Newberry’s new image rights policy follows the recent expansion of its digital collections, including the addition of a significant portion of the Everett D. Graff Collection—now digitally available to scholars and the general public for the first time. The Graff Collection totals more than 130,000 images of books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and other objects documenting Indigenous peoples in the Americas and the settlement of the American West.

All subsequent additions to the Newberry’s quickly growing digital collections, including a soon-to-be-released collection of sheet music and significant additions to the Edward E. Ayer Digital Collection, will also be freely accessible.

Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to The Newberry Digital Resources

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.