Like many in this great profession of ours, I visit other libraries, for many reasons: to satisfy my curiosity, to learn about new services, to see how libraries are run in different sectors and countries. Sometimes I go with a group on an organised visit, sometimes under my own steam. I often take photographs.
I was interested, therefore, to read about Jessamyn West's experience at Des Moines public library. Jessamyn and Karen Schneider, two of the doyennes of US library blogging, were forbidden to take photographs by a library employee. Jessamyn reproduces the subsequent exhcnages with the library's Marketing Director.
Carolyn E Wright, on her PhotoAttorney blog, outlines the US law on this question, but English law will be different, and her site links to a UK Photographers Rights Guide, hosted by a stock photography agency. I cannot speak for its accuracy.
I always ask someone if I may take photographs. No one has ever refused me, though sometimes there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing while the library staff try to work out who holds the power to say yes or no.
See my Flickr photos tagged with library. I illustrate this post with a slightly unfortunate juxtaposition of signs in my new Learning Resource Centre. The LRC is not, contrary to appearances, sponsored by a bloated multinational chain serving atrocious coffee.