December 6, 2023

Libraries, You Got Rights!

Library Futures is delighted to announce the release of “Libraries, You Got Rights!” by student research fellow Milo Santamaria. Cuddle up with copyright this winter with a fleece blanket, flex your fair use muscles with a new tank top, or snag a poster for your space to affirm that indeed, libraries, YOU GOT RIGHTS!

In addition to that incredible swag, you can download a PDF of the poster for free. This resource was adapted from “Library Rights under the US Copyright Act” by the Association of Research Libraries. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License–so you’ve got a lot of rights!

Four Questions with the Artist

What did you learn about copyright while working on the "Libraries, You Got Rights" copyright poster?

I’ve learned how important fair use and open licenses are. Having access to information not only allows us to learn, it helps us create new things like this poster, which wouldn’t have been possible without the information from the Association of Research Libraries. 

I also got to learn a lot about the history of these laws on another project converting the “The Publisher Playbook” into an interactive timeline using open-source software. It has been really interesting to see how much legal pushback libraries have gotten just for lending out books and trying to make information more accessible. 

What are your career goals, and how could what you learned about copyright impact your future work?

In the future I would like to be a children’s or teen librarian. I want to help run fun library programs for youth and their families and make education more accessible. Libraries rely on copyright laws like fair use to loan books, movies, and magazines to patrons so understanding the laws and knowing what rights libraries and library staff have will help me continue to advocate for libraries and patrons in the future. 

What was your inspiration for the images? What other art have you created?

Even though libraries are constantly evolving to keep up with the digital world, libraries still feel nostalgic to me. So the artwork was based on TV shows from the 1990s that I grew up watching in the early 2000s. The icons are loosely based on 1990s art styles that used brighter colors and geometric patterns. The little flowers on the top corners of the poster are based on Mexican folk art designs that use similar geometric shapes and bright colors. 

This is the first big digital art project I’ve done. I’d always wanted to get into digital art, and this internship gave me the opportunity to explore that! I made more artwork with traditional media like paint, oil pastels, etc. when I was in high school. And recently I’ve been learning to loom knit to make plushies and clothes.

What excites you most about this project?

I’m excited to see my design on more items like posters and blankets! I’ve been working on this for a while, so it’s really exciting to get it out in the world now! We created the poster with the intention of helping librarians remember the copyright laws and reference them easily, so I hope this will actually be beneficial for other librarians!

About the Artist

Milo Santamaria is a student research fellow with Library Futures and the webmaster at YouthFacts, a blog dedicated to advancing the rights of youth. Milo is an MLIS student at San Jose State University and earned their bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. While at university, they were a fellow with UCSC’s Everett program, a student-led organization focused on using technology to create social change. They co-led youth workshops on prison abolition and helped maintain websites for Everett and its community partners.

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