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The Memory Lab at Odenton Library

What Is The Memory Lab?

The lab provides equipment for digitizing home movies, phonograph records, and scanning photographs, negatives, and slides.

How It Works

  • Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a librarian. We’ll train you on the equipment of your choice. You’ll sign a release form, receive a certificate, and be authorized to use that equipment on your own.  
  • Schedule your work session. You may book a piece of equipment for 2 hours at a time.  Arrive for your work session and check-in at the adult information desk. We'll set up the equipment for you and you'll work on your project independently. 

What To Bring


  • VHS cassettes
  • Photos
  • Slides
  • Negatives
  • Phonograph record

Methods Of Saving

  • External hard drive
  • USB flash drive
  • Cloud Storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and others)

Personal Archiving Quick Tips

Take Care Of Your Physical Stuff

  • Handle with care! Use clean hands, keep away from food, and do not use paperclips, staples, rubber bands, or adhesives.
  • Store in a cool, dry, and dark place where materials could come in contact with direct sunlight, moisture, pests, or temperature extremes. Think: a bedroom closet, not in the basement or attic.
  • Use acid-free storage, store flat whenever possible.

Take Care Of Your Digital Stuff

  • Label files with consistent and descriptive file names and an organized folder directory. A good file name should include the date in YYYYMMDD format and the name of the event (ex: 20100913ophelia_wedding-001.jpg)
  • Save in non-proprietary file types (ex: pdf, tiff, jpg, mov).
  • Store files in three geographic locations (ex: laptop, external hard drive, the cloud)

Our Story

In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the Odenton Library a grant to build an Innovation Lab. We closed off the room and added power and data to enhance the space for makerspace activities and acquired a 3D printer, sewing machines, and design tools to use in library programs. This is known as our Creation Station. We also wanted to incorporate a meaningful addition for our customers, who we know to be interested in genealogy, storytelling, and history. Inspired by the DC Public Library’s Memory Lab, we decided to create our own.

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