Memory Lab Network

About this project

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded DC Public Library (DCPL), in partnership with the Public Library Association (PLA), 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. The DC Public Library Memory Lab is a digitization lab and digital preservation resources created as a local response to the national needs for free public access to tools and information on caring for personal digital archives. 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.

What is the Memory Lab model?

DC Public Library’s Memory Lab was first established in 2015 by a year-long National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) resulting in a “do-it-yourself” program consisting of three key components: a digitization lab with equipment for digitizing video and audio and scanning photographs, documents, and slides in a public computing space; digital preservation class curricula and training for the public; and a website with equipment and workflow instructions and resources for long-term storage and preservation of analog and digital archival materials. The NDSR project final report and the original project proposal are both available online. The residency was funded by the Institute for Museum and Library services and administered by the Library of Congress.


What is the Memory Lab Network?

The seven project partner libraries and DCPL will form the foundation of the Memory Lab Network, a support network of libraries that can assist, advise, and build on each other’s innovations, challenges, and growing first-hand expertise. By expanding the number of Memory Lab programs nationally, creating variation among those labs, and assessing their successes, challenges, failures, and adjustments in a white paper, the Memory Lab Network will create a model that is robust, flexible, and adoptable by public libraries across the world. Through publication and centralized project documentation, workflows, and program information, the network will lower the barriers for libraries to learn about and consider adding digital preservation tools and programs to their own public services, providing yet more opportunity for iteration, improvement, and adoption of Memory Labs.


Who can apply

Public libraries as defined by the Certified Public Library Administrator Program, which includes tribal libraries:
"A public library is an entity that is established under state enabling laws or regulators to serve a community, district, or region, and that provides at least the following: 1) an organized collection of printed or other library materials, or a combination thereof; 2) paid staff; 3) an established schedule in which services of the staff are available to the public; 4) the facilities necessary to support such a collection, staff, and schedule; and 5) is supported in whole or in part with public funds."


How to apply

The application is open from October 15 - December 15, 2017. To apply, complete the online Memory Lab Network partner application form. Libraries must submit a statement of interest and identify project leads who will build the local Memory Lab digitization stations and programs, attend in-person and virtual trainings, and contribute to project documentation. We encourage public libraries of every kind to apply and hope to create a cohort diverse in geography, size, and the economic opportunity, age, and ethnicity of communities served.


Step-by-step instructions

For help on how to complete the online Memory Lab Network partner application form, use our step-by-step instructions for reference.

  • Complete the online Memory Lab Network partner application form
  • Identification of two staff members to participate as project leads
  • Resumes of the staff project ambassadors
  • Answers to five short essay questions about your library
  • Letter of commitment signed by an administrator.


Email: Please send any questions to our project manager, Lorena Ramírez-López at
Phone: 202-727-2274 - Mondays 12 - 3 p.m. (EST) / 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (PST)
Follow us on Twitter: @MemLabNet

Webinar/Office Hours

Questions? We will be hosting weekly office hours every Tuesday at noon where we can field any questions you might have about the project and how to apply. We will also host an in-depth one-hour webinar on Wednesday, November 15 at 12 p.m. EST, which will be recorded and posted online shortly thereafter. All times are Eastern Standard (EST).
Register for office hour sessions or webinar!

Office hours
Register for Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
Register for Tuesday, November 07, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
Register for Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
Register for Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
Register for Tuesday, December 05, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
Register for Tuesday December 12. 2017 at 12 p.m. EST 

Register for webinar on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST.
Please note that this session will be recorded and posted online. 

Log in / call in information for all sessions:

  • Session number: listed below
  • Password: MLN#apply2017
  • Call in: To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the training session, or call +1-510-210-8882 and enter the session number listed below.
903 087 035 for Tuesday, November 07, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
908 907 590 
for Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
901 312 744 for Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
908 055 605 for Tuesday, December 05, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST
901 755 307 for Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST