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Copyright for Libraries: General Information

A resource to help librarians understand copyright issues.

Copyright for Libraries

Copyright symbol text reads Copyright for LibrarieIt is impossible to honor professional cores values of librarians—first amendment, equity of access, and inclusion—without copyright law. Without it, libraries would be unable to loan books, preserve content, and exercise fair use. Libraries have a privileged position in the law with individual exceptions that apply only to non-profit libraries and archives. 

This resource guide presents information on the intersection of copyright law and libraries, including information on fair use, the first sale doctrine, reproductions, copyright and non-print media, and special topics in copyright.


Please note that ALA cannot give legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an intellectual property attorney.

Additional Help on Copyright

For information and guidance on copyright and libraries, you can contact the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office,, or review the copyright resources on the PPA copyright resource page.

Many general copyright questions are also answered on the United States Copyright Office website