Memory Depot debuts at Sherwood Regional Library

Computer monitor

Sherwood Regional Library will hold the grand opening of its Memory Depot this weekend. (Erika Christ image)

Residents of the Richmond Highway corridor with an attic full of family photographs, slides, VHS tapes and news clippings, now have a clutter-free way to preserve them for future generations.

This weekend, the Sherwood Regional Library — along with the City of Fairfax Regional Library — will hold the grand opening of their new Memory Depots, do-it-yourself stations enabling patrons to digitize materials at no cost. Specifically, the stations’ technologies will enable the digitization of photographic prints, negatives and slides; scrapbooks and other documents; and VHS video cassettes. Audio cassettes are coming soon, according to Fairfax County’s website.

Lauren Wickstead, the Virginia Room Librarian at the City of Fairfax Regional Library, said the library system has been working on this initiative for a while.

“As you can imagine, you can’t buy a VCR off the shelf anymore,” said Wickstead. “It’s taken a while to find older equipment to build the hardware.”

The libraries also purchased a large flatbed scanner, as well as software to digitize old VHS tapes, she added.

One of the chief sources of inspiration for the Memory Depots was the DC Public Library, according to Wickstead. Fairfax County Public Library staff visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library late last year and learned some best practices from its successful Memory Lab.

“They really paved the way for us and made it a lot easier,” said Wickstead.

Both City of Fairfax Regional and Sherwood Regional will be providing orientation sessions during their open-house style events tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. Sherwood Regional’s Memory Depot is located in the second floor Tech Lab, which is open daily during specific hours listed on the library website.

For those who can’t attend tomorrow’s grand openings, library staff will continue to provide personal orientations on how to digitize materials. Until the Memory Depot’s online sign-up system is ready at Sherwood Regional, patrons are encouraged to call the library directly (703-765-3645, extension #4) or stop by the information desk to make a reservation.

Library staff are eager to share their new resource with area residents.

“We’re excited about it,” said Wickstead. “So many of us have these legacy artifacts, but what do you do when you have a VHS tape?”