Central Library
The San Diego Central Library. Photo by Navid Serrano via Wikimedia Commons

This holiday season, the city of San Diego Central Library  has a gift for those with cherished memories trapped in outdated media formats.

Last Saturday, the Digital Memory Lab opened its doors offering the public a free, innovative, do-it-yourself space that allows users to turn old pictures, negatives, slides, audio and video recordings into new electronic files.

Located on the eighth floor, the lab houses a variety of older recording and playback devices paired with specialized software to transfer original analog recordings into digital files. The Lab can digitize the following media formats: VHS, VHS-C, DV, MiniDV, Betamax, Video8, Hi8, Digital8, audio cassette, printed photos, slides, negatives, vinyl records and 3.5″ floppy disks.

“The holidays are a nostalgic time and we want visitors to gather their old pictures and home movies from seasons past and bring them to the Digital Memory Lab to be digitized, stored to a hard drive or the cloud and shared with friends and family,” said Misty Jones, director of the San Diego Public Library. “We’re excited to offer this new resource to help people preserve treasured life moments and establish — or maintain — their personal archives.”

The new lab was funded in part by the Friends of the Central Library and is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Patrons who wish to use the lab must reserve time via the Library’s online reservation system which allows up to two hours of time per day at one of the four workstations in the Lab.

Users do not need a library card to make a reservation but are required to fill out a release form to use the lab. The release form and a complete listing of rules and guidelines are available at sandiego.gov/memorylab.

This is the second digital memory lab in the San Diego Public Library system. The La Jolla/Riford Library opened a lab, funded by Las Patronas, in April last year.