Some of these websites include images which are in the public domain (public domain = nobody owns the copyright). Others include images where the creator is giving up some of their copyright protection and allowing you to use their photos and artwork. However, the creator or website may have usage rules: for example, they might require you to tell people where the image came from and who made it. Before you copy or use any image, it’s a good idea to check for usage or licensing rules.
ImageQuest - https://multcolib.org/resource/imagequest: ImageQuest is a library resource created by the Encyclopædia Britannica. It has millions of images that you can use for non-commercial purposes. The collection includes photos and clip art, and it allows you to sort results by shape (horizontal or vertical rectangle, or square). Information about creator and rights is provided for each image.
Smithsonian Open Access - https://www.si.edu/openaccess/: The Smithsonian has created this site to provide access to millions of images from their museums, libraries, archives and the National Zoo. Every image is Creative Commons Zero (CC0), meaning that the Smithsonian has waived all of their rights under copyright. There is also a Smithsonian Learning Lab with information about the Open Access collection and ideas for how to use it.
Pixabay - https://pixabay.com/en/: Pixabay offers over 1.7 million royalty free stock photos and videos.
Unsplash - https://unsplash.com/: Over 1 million free, high-resolution photos shared by a huge online community of photographers. The Unsplash license gives you wide permission to use the images.
Are websites not your thing? Do you prefer books? The library has many books of illustrations and prints you can use, on all sorts of topics. To find them, just do a subject search in the library catalog for “clip art.” You’ll find books with images of Victorian women’s fashion, birds, children’s book illustrations, fairies and much more. At the end of this post is a book list showing examples of the types of clip art books that the library owns.
If you have trouble finding the images that you want, or if you have more questions about any of this, ask us for help! We’ll be happy to talk more about it.
Images included in this post:
- Photo of a camera, by Rodrigo Senna from Brasília, DF, Brasil (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Photography.jpg
- Creative Commons logo, https://creativecommons.org/
- Children reading a wireless newspaper, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509648/
- Photo of a flower, https://morguefile.com/p/196907