The Memory Lab

The Memory Lab

The Labs at DC Public Library


The Memory Lab is now at Northeast Neighborhood Library at 330 7th St. NE.

Hours are:

Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Friday and Sunday

Reservations can be made below.

What is the Memory Lab? | Why should I care about personal archiving? 
Our partners | Membership process | Age policy | Release form | More info


What is the Memory Lab?

It's a place.
The lab provides equipment for digitizing home movies and scanning photographs and slides. It's a Do-it-yourself (DIY)  model, meaning we provide step-by-step instructions, but you control the process from start to finish. 

The lab can be reserved for three-hour sessions.
Formats Accepted Formats Saved On
(Customer Provided)
  • VHS
  • VHS-C
  • MiniDV
  • HDV 1080i
  • DV
  • Audio cassette
  • 3.5" Floppy
  • Photos/slides/negatives
  • External hard drive
  • USB
  • Cloud Storage

It's an online resource.

Learn how to take care of your physical and digital possessions and get resources to help you in your personal archiving projects. 

It's a series of classes and programs.
Check out the Library's online calendar for upcoming events throughout the system!

Why should I care about personal archiving?

Daily organization. Personal collections are larger than ever, spanning physical things like keepsakes and journals, to digital things like Word documents, photographs, email, and social media accounts. Taking steps to care for your stuff will help you locate, reference, and re-use what you create.

Security. Losing track of your assets and online accounts is a threat to your online identity and personal security. This means that sometimes even deleting is a valuable personal archiving strategy.

Legacy. What you produce purposefully (like a home movie or photograph) and what you produce in daily life (like a calendar appointment or email) could be important for your loved ones and for the cultural record. 

Our Partners

The Library of Congress, in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, selected our project for their National Digital Stewardship Residency program. Some of the equipment in the lab was donated by our friends at the Dance Heritage Coalition.

Our Story

The Memory Lab is the result of a year-long National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) project beginning in June 2015 to create sustainable, public-focused lab, tools, and instruction for building public knowledge and skills around personal digital record keeping at DC Public Library (DCPL) and to produce a model for other organizations serving the public. Check out the final project report here.

In 2017 the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded DCPL, in partnership with the Public Library Association, a National Leadership Grant to build Memory Lab digital preservation programs in seven public libraries across the U.S. Through an application process, seven public libraries will be identified as project partners and will spend one year creating personal archiving stations and programs to for their communities following the DCPL model. Memory Lab Network partners will receive training, mentoring, and financial support to create digitization stations and curriculum to build public knowledge and skills around the complex and paralyzing problems of personal digital archiving through their own Memory Lab programs. More information and link to application here.

Membership Process

  1. Sign the release form. If you are younger than 18, parental consent is required.
  2. Book a session. Orientations are not required to use the space, but attending a Memory Lab Drop-in session is strongly encouraged. Upcoming drop-ins can be found in the Library's online calendar. You must have a library card to book a session. 
  3. Arrive to your first session 15 minutes early. Check-in with staff at the information desk in the Digital Commons. They may inspect what you've brought in to digitize  to make sure that it won't harm our equipment. 
  4. Once staff have shown you to the space, it's all yours! Refer to the Memory Lab LibGuide for step-by-step instructions.

Age Policy

The Memory Lab is designated for use by people ages 13 and older.

Children ages 6-12 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times.

Parental consent is required for ages 17 and younger.

Release Form

You can download and sign your Release Form before coming to your session, or fill one out at the information desk.
Download as Word Document | PDF

More Info

Got questions? Contact us at 
Learn what's needed to start your own Memory Lab.

Make a Reservation

Back to Labs at DC Public Library