Genealogy Preservation Pad

What Is It?

The Preservation Pad is a service to help individuals convert their print, photographic, and analog media into digital format, helping them preserve and share precious family memories and moments for generations to come. The Preservation Pad is set up into seven distinct stations with state of the art equipment to help in this process. It is only available at the Genealogy & Local History Room, located on the 2nd floor of the Central Library.

Print Photographs and Albums Station

Got shoeboxes or photo albums stuffed with print photographs? Our Scannx Bookscan Station will help you convert those prints into high-resolution digital images. With an easy to use touch-screen interface as well as two modern scanners- including our high speed photo scanner, you will be able to create digital copies of all those photographs in no time flat. Bring in a spare USB flash drive and your photos/albums to get started!

Slides, Negatives, and Albums Station

Want to convert those old slides or negatives into a digital image? For a quick conversion use our Wolvervine F2D mighty scanner. For the highest fidelity digitization our powerful Epson V850 Pro flatbed can convert your slides, negatives, prints, and albums into any digital format type you’d like. Bring in your old photographic media/albums along with your USB flash drive to get started!

VHS-to-DVD Station

This station will let you copy old VHS tapes to DVD. Just bring in your old VHS tapes along with a blank DVD –R / -RW disk to get started. Tapes are converted in real time (ex. 2 hour tape takes 2 hours to convert) with a maximum reservation of 4 hours per day allowed. (Note: our player cannot read positive DVD discs (DVD+R/+RW) Please double check your disc type before coming in to use the converter!)

DVD/Blu-Ray/M-Disc Duplication Station

Our disc-duplicating machine can make up to five copies at once of a CD, DVD, Blu-Ray disk or M-Disc archival media. It’s great for making copies of the home movies for all the kids and grandkids. Just bring in your source disc along with however many blank discs you would like to copy onto to get started!

Audio Cassette To Digital Audio Station

Have any old audio cassette tapes still? Our new Ion USB Cassette converter works with two software options to convert your tapes to a .wav audio file (burn onto a CD to use in your car stereo) or a digital .mp3 file (usable on a computer, smartphone, or mp3 player) Bring in your audio cassettes and your USB flash drive or blank CD-R disc to get started!

Magnetic Audio Tape to Digital Audio Station

Thanks to a generous donation from one of our patrons, we have acquired an old Panasonic Solid State Tape recorder. Paired with the Audacity audio software we can help convert old audio recordings on magnetic tape over to a digital .mp3 file. Please see staff for additional details regarding this station. Bring in your audio tape reels and your USB flash drive to get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to using this service?

No, there is no service fee charged for using any of the seven stations. However, patrons will need to bring their own flash drive and/or blank media (DVDs, Blu-ray disks, etc.) depending on what station they are using. Genealogy staff members will let patrons know what they need to bring when they register an appointment.

Are there set times when this service is available?

The times available to use the Preservation Pad are the same times for the Genealogy Department. (Open Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9:00AM to 5:00PM; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00AM to 9:00PM.) If the Genealogy Department is open for business, the Preservation Pad is too.

Do I need to make a reservation beforehand?

Each of the seven stations are offered at a first-come, first-served basis. We strongly recommend making a reservation beforehand to guarantee that the equipment will be free to use when you are planning to come in to do scanning or copying.

Are there any limits to registering?

To provide everyone an opportunity to use these services, reservations for the Print Photographs and Albums Station, Slides, Negatives, and Albums Station, Audio Cassette to Digital Audio Station, and Magnetic Audio Tape to Digital Audio Station are limited to 2 hours max per person per day. The VHS-to-DVD Station is limited to 4 hours per person per day. The 8mm and Super 8 Film Station is limited to 5 hours per person per day

Additionally, each person is limited to 2 reservations per week, and reservations can only be made up to 4 weeks in advance.

If additional time is needed, individuals can always call ahead to see if the equipment is open and can come in to utilize the machines, with the understanding that if someone else calls in to make a reservation they would need to finish up and allow the other person a chance to use the equipment.

How long will it take to scan my photos or copy my videos?

It depends on several factors, including how many photos, slides, videos, etc. that you have to scan and how comfortable you are with using the scanning equipment. If you contact a Genealogy staff member beforehand, they will be able to give you an estimate of how much time you will need to complete a given project and can help you register.

I’m not very good with technology? Will this be easy to use?

We have tried our best to obtain equipment that is user-friendly. There are printed and electronic user guides with pictures that will take you step-by-step on what you need to do to use each of the stations, and staff members will be there to assist you if you need additional help operating the equipment.

I own Disney’s Aladdin on VHS? Can I copy it over to a DVD using your converter?

U.S. Copyright law still pertains to use of all seven of the Preservation Pad stations. While many VHS tapes and DVDs have built in copyright protection that disallow copying, it is ultimately up to the user to make sure they are compliant with copyright law when making copies using the Preservation Pad equipment.

What happens if the high-speed scanner tears one of my old photographs or my VHS tape gets eaten while copying?

The library is not responsible for damages incurred to your media (photographic, video, or digital) through use of the scanning equipment. By using any of the Preservation Pad stations, you are consenting to use this equipment at your own risk and discretion.

Can kids use the Preservation Pad, too?

We ask that an adult accompany children under 16 years of age when using the Preservation Pad.

For more information or to set up a reservation please contact the Genealogy Department at 936-788-8363 ext. 6249 or email us. Thank you!