May 11, 2023
Do you have a box of home videos in your closet that you wish you could watch anytime? Or maybe a relative’s old recipe book that you would love to share with friends and family? Mid-Continent Public Library now has a way to help with those projects, big and small. The Memory Lab at MCPL is now open and ready for visitors by appointment.
Currently located in the studio within The Story Center at MCPL’s Woodneath Library Center (inside the historic Woodneath home), the Memory Lab provides equipment for converting analog materials into digital records. This service is free, and the Lab can digitize VHS tapes, cassette tapes, photos, documents, photo negatives, slides, and 8mm movies.
The Lab is a self-guided space: users will make an appointment to come in, review instructions for digitizing their items, and get started on their project. Staff will be available to help you get started and answer any questions that pop up along the way, but visitors to the Lab act as the primary archiver during their appointments. The process does take time, especially if you are digitizing video or audio, which must be digitized in real time. However, visitors have a three-hour window for appointments and can book follow-up times after their first visit.
The do-it-yourself nature of the Lab means that visitors are doing more than just cleaning out some old photos or videos. The Memory Lab allows people to become hands-on archivists of their personal and family histories. What may start as a spring-cleaning project could turn into something more, as you hear an old cassette tape for the first time or see film negatives come to life on the computer screen. The Memory Lab is a piece of that puzzle and can help visitors utilize their old records in new and exciting ways.
The Memory Lab is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
Graduate Research Assistant at The Story Center