Library preserves memories that ‘spark joy’

Mary Pom ClaiborneDowntown, Our Town Arts

January is a great time to hit your drawers and closets to declutter your junk. Throwing away out-of-style clothes that don’t fit anymore or old electronic cords with no device in sight is the easy part.


But what to do with all those old photos and newspaper clippings? I just moved and brought along boxes of memorabilia, journals, report cards, letters and photographs. Every few years, I’ll go down that rabbit hole, but mostly, they stay in boxes on a shelf. Even worse, what about the video and audiotapes for which you have no player? It feels too overwhelming to tackle. But there’s hope!

Last year, the library introduced a new service called “The Memory Lab”  to help manage and access the contents in those dusty boxes. Located downtown at the Lawson McGhee Library, the Memory Lab has equipment to digitize, edit and store personal media such as home movies on videotape, images on print, slide or negatives, and audiotape cassettes. Library staff will provide basic help on how to use the equipment, then you do the transfers.

Everything you need to know is on our website. Beware! Opening those boxes could lead to a big, long rabbit hole!

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library. She writes a Wednesday feature for KnoxTNToday.com.

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