For commercial and non-profit use of images from the San Francisco Public Library for use in books, journals, magazines/newspapers, documentaries, exhibitions, Internet, and all other uses, a Permission to Publish form will be used.
The library receives a commercial use fee of $15 per image for one-time use only.
Permission to Publish Form (PDF) Can be filled out online.
The credit line should read: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY.
Worldwide, all media
- Book Worldwide, all media and formats (whether now known or hereafter devised) rights fee is $45 per image. Book Worldwide Permission to Publish form (PDF)
- Film, all media rights fee is $100 per image. Permission for worldwide all media use allows for productions that will be released in more than one medium (i.e., broadcast, home video, streaming), so that permission would not have to be obtained for each separate use. Film Worldwide Permission to Publish form (PDF) - Can be filled out online but cannot be saved to your computer.
All images included herein are intended for personal use only. Any reproduction, redistribution, publication, exhibit, or other use, by any means, without prior written permission is prohibited. To reproduce or use the photographs, please complete the appropriate form(s) and submit them to the San Francisco History Center for permission.
Please note the San Francisco Public Library does not hold copyright to all the visual materials in the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection. Further copyright clearance may be needed in order to use the image. Use fees will not be charged for images in the Public Domain.
For more information about permissions and licensing of images, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call the San Francisco History Center Photo Desk: 415-557-4567, or visit during the open hours of the Photo Desk.
There is no fee for academic uses which include: dissertation, thesis, class presentation, or any academic publication that is not for sale. Please submit a Permission to Publish form for dissertation, thesis and free academic publication use and use fees will be waived. A Permission to Publish form is not required for class presentations.
There is no usage fee for agencies of the Federal, State, or City government or for commercial organizations or individuals doing pro bono work for government agencies. Please submit a Permission to Publish form and use fees will be waived.
Social Media Use
The Library has fantastic images to post, tweet and share. These are FREE to use on social media channels.
- Facebook: “like” the Library’s page so you can tag our page in your Facebook library image posts by using @SanFranciscoPublicLibrary.
- Twitter: tag @sfpubliclibrary and/ or #sfpubliclibrary when tweeting Library images.
- Instagram: tag @sfpubliclibrary and/ or #sfpubliclibrary when sharing Library images.
Blogs and Websites
For personal blogs and websites - photos can be used for free as long as the photos are not used for commercial purposes (meaning in an advertisement or in any way intended to sell a product, raise money, or promote or endorse something). A Permission to Publish form is not required. The credit line for the image posted should read: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY. We request that the credit line links back to https://sfpl.org/locations/main-library/historical-photographs.
For commercial blogs and websites - a Permission to Publish form is required with the one-time use fee of $15 per image. The credit line for the image posted should read: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY. We request that the credit line links back to https://sfpl.org/locations/main-library/historical-photographs.