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Memory Preservation Lab

Digitize personal archival collections

Memory Preservation Kit

Media Lab box

Instruction sheets


Building Renovations

***The Texana/Genealogy Department and the entire sixth floor of Central Library is currently closed for renovations.  The Memory Lab is currently unavailable.***

The department will not provide reference service during this time but will offer interim services out of a location on Central Library’s first floor beginning in July. Please call (210) 207-2500 for information.  

What's a Memory Lab?

The San Antonio Public Library has basic equipment available for patrons to utilize at the library for digitizing personal archival collections. Located in the Texana/Genealogy Department on the 6th floor of the Central Library, the Memory Lab tools can digitize multiple formats of material, including:

  • Audio cassettes
  • DVDs
  • Negative and slides (35mm) 
  • Photographic prints and documents (up to 8.5x11”)
  • VHS and VHS-C

The Memory Lab tools are not professional quality equipment that you would get with a commercial vendor service. Our equipment is intended for personal digital archiving and must be used in the Library. Staff is available to answer questions and will setup the equipment to help get patrons started, but the goal of the activity is that is a DIY self-serve process.

The following equipment is included with step-by-step instructions (see instructional sheets for more details):

  • PC Laptop: Dell
  • Headphones
  • Microphone
  • Cassette Player: ION Tape2PC Deck
  • Scanner: Epson Perfection V370 Photo (includes 35 mm film guides)
  • Elgato Video Capture: hardware transfers video to computer
  • DVD / VCR Player: Magnavox
  • VHS-C Adapter

Please note: The kits do NOT include equipment to convert all moving image & video formats. For example, we currently cannot accommodate Super 8 or 16 mm film nor Video8; Hi8; or Digital 8 videotapes.  The kit is also not able to digitize from reel-to-reel audio recordings.

What's required?

To use the Memory Lab kit, patrons must have a SAPL library card in good standing, read and sign a release form, and make a reservation. Contact the Texana/Genealogy Department to make a reservation by calling (210) 207-2500 (ask for the Texana/Genealogy Department) or email

Please note: You will need to provide your own digital storage device like a USB thumb drive or external hard drive to save the digital files on. 


Audacity is a third-party software product that offers more features and more flexibility than the digitizing software that comes with the ION tape deck.  You may want to watch the video to familiarize yourself with the software in case you need more editing capability.