Free to Use and Reuse at the LOC

From the Library of Congress
From the Library of Congress

Check out these awesome posters. They are from the Library of Congress and free to use. The library makes a number of images available. You can find them here on the Free to Use and Reuse Sets page.

These posters are both part of the “Libraries” collection and were printed by the WPA during World War II. I have to admit that the yellow poster first caught my eye because of the color. But then I noted what it was advertising. Our local libraries have had curbside pick up for quite some time because of COVID. I for one thought this was new. I should have known that if it was a good idea now it would have been a good idea at some point in the past.

Other images in this particular collection include both historic libraries and modern libraries.

Carnegie Library, Sheldon, Iowa. 1909. Library of Congress

Other collections include Maps of Discovery and Exploration, Posters of World War I, Veterans, Baseball Cards, Cats and Dogs.  Most of these digital offerings are photographs, postcards, posters, maps, and letter. But there is also a section of movies – Public Domain Films from the National Film Registry.

Maybe you are already working on something that might benefit from something that you would find in one of these sets. Or you might be noodling over what to write next. Inspiration could easily be found here.

The Route 9 Library and Innovation Center in New Castle Delaware. 2018. Library of Congress.

For my part, I’m contemplating what I could do that would involve Carnegie Libraries. I visited one with my writing friend Ann when we were in Eureka Springs, Arkansas about two years ago. Excuse me while I go noodle the possibilities.


Copyright Free Photos

Last week, I was reading the Library of Congress (LOC) blog when I came across a post that included a photo of an ice cream vendor in long ago Cuba.  What?  The image was free for public use.  I read the post closely and discovered that the LOC holdings online include a section titled “Free to Use and Reuse Sets.”  These images include photos, posters, drawings and postcards that are copyright free and available for public use.

There are photos to do with ice cream including this Tiffany lamp (see left), Thomas Jefferson’s recipe (hand written), and a link to The Book of Ices…

Not looking for anything this light-hearted?  No worries.  There are also photos of African-American Women Change Makers including images of Fannie Lou Hamer, Sojourner Truth (see right)  and a book of poetry by Phyllis Wheatley.

Other topics inclue World War I posters from various countries, Women’s History Month images, WPA images and presidential portraits.  When I popped open the page of World War I posters, I was surprised to see a poster printed in Hebrew.  The Women’s History Month images include a number of World War II photos of women doing various war time factory job.  I would love to have more of the context of some of these images.  I had to really think about this WPA poster. I mean, I know I lose it when someone folds down a page to mark their place in a book, but the WPA actually had a poster about it.

In addition to using these images in your work, you might also want to look through them when you need inspiration for a story, article or poem.  Take some time and see what the Library of Congress has avialable.