Digital Archiving With San Mateo County Libraries

We all collect memories, in many ways. Technology aids us in this task, but with time, it can become obscure or obsolete and our memories risk being lost forever. San Mateo County Libraries is proud to offer several tools and resources to ensure that the media containing your precious family and community memories are not lost to time.

If you have print photographs, tapes and cassettes, there are ways to preserve those media or digitize the memories they hold.

Memory Lab

A Memory Lab is a service or facility dedicated to the digital preservation of rare and obsolete media. It includes equipment for digitizing video and audio and scanning photographs, documents and slides. You can reserve an hour of time in one of our Memory Labs.

The reserved time includes setting up equipment, preparing your media, digitizing and saving your finished project. To maximize your lab time, please tell us about your project in the booking form. We also ask that you complete a waiver prior to using our lab equipment.

Our Memory Lab includes equipment to digitize the following media:

  • Photos, negatives, and photographic slides
  • VHS and VHS-C cassettes
  • Audio cassettes
  • 8mm and Super-8 film (no audio)
  • 3.5" floppy disks (DOS or Windows format only)
  • CD-R and DVD-R data discs

Reserve a timeslot or call Customer Care at 1-833-YES-SMCL (1-833-937-7625) to book a 1-hour appointment.

Systemwide Events

Digital information is extremely fragile. All our valued and important digital files are at risk of becoming inaccessible within relatively short periods of time. Join us for Digital Preservation - The Basics of Saving Your Photos, an introductory class on basic practices to care for your personal digital archives, particularly your photos. We’ll help you develop strategies for making those ones and zeros last.

Do you have home movies you haven't watched in forever? Do you have questions about how to preserve and maintain your 8mm films, your VHS tapes, or a format you don't remember? Join us for Preserve Your Home Movies! The Basics of Saving Your Moving Image Memories, an introductory class on basic practices for caring for your moving image memories.

Recommended Reading 

Declutter your Photo Life

How to Archive Family Photos

Bit Rot

Personal Archiving