L.A. Public Library now has a DIY lab for digitizing old media like VHS tapes

The Los Angeles Public Library is getting into the historical preservation game with the introduction of the DIY Memory Lab, a new space within the Octavia Lab at Central Library. With this self-serve lab, patrons can preserve media treasures from the past with archival-grade digitization tools. How cool is that?

Using the lab's equipment is free, with a L.A. Public Library card (which is free to all California residents) in good standing, after attending an online orientation, and by making a reservation. Reservations can be made by calling: 213-228-7150.

A few years ago, I spent a fortune converting family films that were in Super 8 format. I wish the library were closer, because just last night I just came across a bunch of old VHS tapes and floppy disks from the 1990s that I would love to digitize! Maybe more libraries will take notice and offer this service–here's hoping!

Here are some of the materials that can be preserved at the lab:

  • Documents
  • Photos, slides, negatives
  • Super 8 and 8mm film (picture only, no audio)
  • Compact audio cassette
  • CD and DVD
  • DV and MiniDV (SP)
  • 3.5" inch floppy disks
  • Minidisc
  • Reel to reel audio tape
  • VHS (SP and EP)
  • Vinyl record (LP and 45)