San Diego Central Library Opens Digital Memory Lab

This holiday season, the City of San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common has a gift for those with cherished memories trapped in outdated media formats. On Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, at 2 p.m., the Digital Memory Lab will open 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 of the Central Library, the Digital Memory Lab houses a variety of older recording and playback devices paired to specialty software that transfers original analog recordings into digital files. Library staff and knowledgeable volunteers will be available to assist patrons with the digitizing process. Easy to understand instructions and trainings will also be provided. 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, 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 Digital Memory Lab at the Central Library was funded in part by the Friends of the Central Library and is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 2 – 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 San Diego Public 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 for the Digital Memory Lab are available at

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 2017. In addition to the formats offered at the Central Library, the La Jolla/Riford Library location also offers reel-to-reel tape and genealogy support with the Library’s services. Reservations for this location can also be made online. Please refer to the La Jolla/Riford Digital Memory Lab website for the operating schedule as hours vary each day.