San Diego

Accessibility Tools

Memory Lab

Regular Hours

Monday Opening soon
Tuesday Opening soon
Wednesday Opening soon
Thursday Opening soon
Friday Opening soon
Saturday Opening soon
Sunday Opening soon

About the Memory Lab

The Memory Lab is an innovative do-it-yourself space to learn how to digitize various audiovisual formats as well as scanning documents, slides and negatives. Our mission is to provide users with tools for the conversion and analysis of their digital projects so that they can ultimately proceed independently. Patrons will have access to knowledgeable library staff and volunteers, instructions and orientations that give you the tools and power to digitize your materials.

Lab Policy

  • Age Policy - The Memory Lab is designated for use by people ages 13 and older. Chidren ages 6-12 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times. Parental consent is required for ages 17 and younger.
  • Release Form - A release form is required to use the Memory Lab. Download and sign your Release Form before coming to your session or fill one out at the lab.
  • Food and Beverages - Food and drink are not allowed in the Lab. Food and drink can damage our media equipment as well as attract pests that can damage materials.
  • Saving Your Files - Please save your project files on your own external drive or cloud storage accounts. All Memory Lab computers are reset nightly so files cannot be stored on the lab machines without risk of losing data.
  • Storage of Personal Items - Hard drives or other personal items needed for saving or transferring files cannot be stored at the Memory Lab. Materials brought to the lab for scanning or analysis must remain with your at all times.
  • Reserving the Lab - The Memory Lab is open for appointments Monday through Saturday. Only one session per user per day.

Make a Reservation

The Memory Lab at the Central Library offers four separate transfer stations. Each station offers different transfer formats. You will have two hours to work on your transfer project independently with instructions. Transfers happen in real time.

Station 1: Video Transfer (DV & Betamax)

Media transferred at this station:

miniDV & DVCAM | PDF icon Transfer Guide
Betamax Cassette | PDF icon Transfer Guide

Station 2: Video Transfer (VHS & 8mm)

Media transferred at this station:

VHS Cassette | PDF icon Transfer Guide
VHS-C Cassette | PDF icon Transfer Guide
8mm Tape | PDF icon Transfer Guide
(Video8, Hi8 & Digital8)

Station 3: Scanning

Media transferred at this station:

Photographs | PDF icon Scanning Guide
Photo negatives/slides | PDF icon Scanning Guide

Station 4: Audio Transfer

Media transferred at this station:

Audio Cassette | PDF icon Transfer Guide
Vinyl Records | PDF icon Transfer Guide 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Memory Lab?

The Digital Memory Lab is an innovative space to learn how to access, digitize, and share videos, audio recordings, photographs, and slides.

Do I need a library card to access the resources in the Digital Memory Lab?

No, you do not need a library card to use the Digital Memory Lab; however, you will check-in with a staff member, review policy and sign a release form.  If you are under 18, parental consent is required.

When is the Digital Memory Lab open?

The Memory Lab hours are: TBD

Do I need a reservation to use the Digital Memory Lab?

Yes, there are four stations in the Lab: two (2) video digitization stations, one (1) scanning station, and one (1) audio digitization station.  Reservations can be made in 2 hour blocks, at 2:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m.  Reserve a session here.

I want to digitize, but I am unfamiliar with the process.  How can I learn?

Knowledgeable library staff and volunteers will be on site, as well as, access to step-by-step instructional guides.  Attending a Memory Lab Drop-in session is strongly encouraged. Upcoming drop-ins can be found in the Library's online calendar.

How do I save my digitized content?

Bring a USB or external hard drive to save your content, or save it on cloud storage.

Do you have other programs/classes about digitization?

Classes will be posted on the Library’s calendar of events.

Contact Us

For other questions or concerns email us at [email protected].
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