Special Collections Librarian/Assistant Supervisor Jacksonville Public Library
Jacksonville Public Library's Special Collections department unveiled its Memory Lab in September 2022. Providing equipment for customers to transfer older media into digital formats at no cost has garnered over 2,000 sessions to date, allowed customers to preserve and share their treasured memories, developed partnerships with cultural and educational institutions and offered opportunities for staff in other departments to utilize the equipment for special projects and public programming. The Memory Lab is equipped with film projectors, VCRS, record players, audio cassette players, an audio reel to reel player, flatbed scanners, Fastfoto scanner, large Bookeye Scanner and disc/disk drives. Along with preserving memories and updating media, the one on one encounters between staff and customers has created an open dialogue, developed relationships and advanced the technological skills of the Special Collections staff. Through these connections, the department has had the opportunity to encourage customers to donate photographs, digital images, film footage, ephemera and other unique items to be included in our Neighborhood Project, Yearbook Collection, social media and the Memory Lab itself. With generous funding from the Library Friends, Special Collections will be installing a large monitor on the wall nearest the Memory Lab on which footage and photographs celebrating Jacksonville's long, rich history will be displayed continuously. Jacksonville Public Library is honored to be able to offer these services and to contribute to our community in such a meaningful and memorable way. Sharing the trajectory of this project with colleagues on a national level would be invaluable to other organizations.