Library Opens New Lab Devoted to Preserving Family Photos, Videos and Keepsakes

News Releases

Library Opens New Lab Devoted to Preserving Family Photos, Videos and Keepsakes

Technology and Step-by-step Instructions Empower DIY Digitizing

Not sure what to do with your old home movies, audiocassettes or slides?  The DC Public Library’s new Memory Lab can help. Launching February 20 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the Memory Lab is a space designed to help the public digitize and preserve videotapes, photographs and other family keepsakes.
 
Located in the Library’s Digital Commons, the Memory Lab features technology like scanners and VCRs along with and step-by-step instructions for saving items in a digital format. Customers will be able to convert and preserve photos; slides; VHS; VHS-C; DV; MiniDV; Audiocassette and files on 3.5" floppy disks. Customers can save their files on a CD-R; an external hard drive; a USB drive or on a cloud storage platform.
 
Customers ages 13 and older can reserve a 3-hour Memory Lab session and follow instructions to use the equipment independently. While orientations are not required to use the space, attending a Memory Lab drop-in session before making a reservation is recommended.  
 
To celebrate the launch, tours of the lab will be held every 30 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on February 20. In addition, the Library will be hosting a screening and discussion of the documentary “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” with filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris.
 
Winner of the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary, “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” uses the photos of professional and amateur Black photographers to show how photography has been used to subvert popular stereotypes as far back as the Civil War era. Harris encourages people to rethink the value of their family photos and to use the power of interactive media to share their stories with the next generation.
 
The Memory Lab joins the family of DC Public Library Labs that include the Fab Lab, Digital Commons and Studio Lab. Each space is designed to teach new skills, turn ideas into action and support collaboration using technology.
 
###
 
The DC Public Library’s Memory Lab project was completed as part of National Digital Stewardship Residency program organized by the Library of Congress in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.