Grant money makes it possible for families to save heirloom images
Patrons of the Oscar Grady Library in Saukville will soon have an easier time archiving precious family documents, thanks to a federal grant.
The library has received a $5,000 grant funneled through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, according to Library Director Jen Gerber.
The funding was provided in conjunction with the Library Services and Technology Act, and requires $3,700 in local matching money or services.
Gerber said the federal money has been used to create a first-of-its-kind digital media conversion lab, which will allow patrons to convert family slides and movies into a modern digital format. The lab was created in an under-used study room at the library.
Library assistant Tyler Quaas served as the staff lead in setting up the various pieces of equipment and making sure they all worked as expected.
In the grant application, Gerber explained that many family artifacts are badly dated and at risk of further deterioration.
“As technology rapidly progresses, the medium of personal photography and unique photographic formats has evolved dramatically over the last 30 years,” the application states.
“The concept of converting the now antiquated and nearly obsolete formats of 8mm film, 35mm camera negatives, transparency slides and Polaroid film to more stable and practical files has become a necessity in the interest of family history and photographic preservation.”
The application notes that unless stored under optimal conditions, movies and slides “rapidly deteriorate and become more difficult to view and share.”
With the grant, the library purchased an illuminated transparency slide viewer, an 8mm film and 35mm negative digital scanner, a wireless digital scanner, a digital photo printer, a smart TV and a DVD/VCR player with digital conversion capability.
Two touchscreen laptop computers with digital conversion software have also been purchased.
A supply of SDHC cards, recordable DVD discs and high-capacity memory sticks are also part of the grant inventory list.
To provide further support evidence for the grant request, the library application noted that “Village of Saukville residents are documented avid users of the public library and value its services.”
The library staff notes public Internet and wireless access use increased almost 20% over the past year.
“The need for advancement in technology and digital resources in this community is high,” the grant application said.
“As technology continues to evolve and expand, and municipal funding continues to decrease, our library is experiencing tight financial constraints. The funds requested from this grant would assist in advancing the community’s technology needs.”
The lab will be available to patrons later this spring once training documents are prepared, offering step-by-step instructions in the digital conversion process.
The digital lab will be available at no cost to all patrons of the Eastern Shores Library System.
The lab will be reserved to one individual or family at a time, so the library can have a better idea of who used the equipment.
The library staff will not be available to do the digital conversions.
Image information: THE OSCAR GRADY LIBRARY has created a digital media conversion lab, giving families a chance to archive treasured home movies and photos. Photo by Mark Jaeger