The Nelson Public Library’s new Digitization Station has everything you need to digitize old photos, slides, tapes, records, and cassettes. Photo: Submitted

The Nelson Public Library’s new Digitization Station has everything you need to digitize old photos, slides, tapes, records, and cassettes. Photo: Submitted

CHECK THIS OUT: Digitization at the Library

Old media can become new again

With Trash to Treasure Day coming up in a couple of months, you might be thinking of doing some spring cleaning. You know, getting rid of those old slides from your parents’ trip to Greece in 1977, those vinyl records that have been in the family forever. And what about those old Hi8 tapes from when you had a camcorder? There’s no way you can access any of these anymore, right?

Wrong! The library’s brand-new Digitization Station offers a slew of specialized equipment that can help you transfer all your old technology into a digital format. Vinyl records become mp3s, Hi8 tapes become mp4s, and slides and photos can become JPEGs or PNGs.

After many months of work, and thanks to a generous grant from the Columbia Basin Trust, we’re happy to be able to launch the first of our three Tech Hub rooms (the others, which we’re working hard to finish, are our Recording Studio and our Editing Station).

The Digitization Station allows you to preserve your memories by digitizing old photos, slides, video tapes, vinyl records, and audio cassettes. Our Technical Services department searched far and wide to piece together all the equipment necessary to do that. We’ve bought a whole bunch of specialized equipment, so that you don’t have to.

Not only do we have all the hardware you’ll need—we’ve also got the software, including a Digital Scrapbooking program and a Family Tree Maker for all you enthusiastic genealogists.

We are looking forward to offering one-on-one and group training sessions once COVID is a distant memory (not the kind I’ll ever want to digitize). But for now, you’ve got to come prepared to work in a self-learning environment. In other words, we’re providing the tools for you to do the digitizing yourself.

We’re unfortunately unable to have you show up and hand us a stack of eight milimetre tapes and ask us to digitize them for you. That means before your visit you should take a look at our Digitization Station webpage, read our online guides, research the equipment, maybe watch a YouTube video or two, and then book a time to use the room.

Having said all that, we’ve set up a user-friendly system and we’re excited to have you come in with your attic boxes and your USB flash drive in hand. Technology is constantly changing and evolving, and we want to help you ensure your memories don’t get lost in the process.

Fast-forward 50 years, Trash to Treasure Day 2051 in Nelson. You’re carrying a box out to the curb when you notice an old iPhone inside it. Didn’t your grandpa have one of those? And doesn’t the Nelson Public Library, which just celebrated its 150-year anniversary recently, have a Digitization Station that allows you to look at photos on defunct technology? You just might be in luck.

Avi Silberstein is the Children’s Librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. If you’re interested in learning more about library programs and services, sign up for our monthly newsletter on our website or by giving us a call.

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