Memory Lab begins April 3 at library

Photos on a table ready to be digitized

Marsha Bennett

Do you have boxes of pictures and other family history items in your basement or attic? Are they organized? Have they been digitized for future generations?

Most young adult children do not want to sort and store these items, even though someday they may value them. As the formats are becoming more fragile and outdated, now is the time to bring these memories and mementos into the future for the generations that follow , and Johnson County Library can help.

As a special 50th anniversary project, the Johnson County Genealogical Society in cooperation with the Johnson County Library is establishing a free Do-It-Yourself Memory Lab. The society will provide equipment for the public to use to digitize photos, negatives, slides, movies and documents and to transfer them to digital formats.

“At 70-years-old, I started taking photos long before computers were available for personal use. Some were printed and some were on slides. I have digitized many of those photos, but not all. I need to get out all the old photo albums and make a plan to scan more family pictures,” said Ron Powell, coordinator for at the Memory Lab. “Also, I’ve received old family photos from other relatives. I like to digitize them for my use but also make them available to other family members.”

The equipment will be housed and can be used in the genealogy area of the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park. The project is being funded by the Johnson County Library Foundation. The Do-It-Yourself Memory Lab will be available for public use beginning on April 3.

Lab users must be at least 18 years old and have a current library card in Johnson County.

Here is how it will work:

  • Set an online appointment at to use Memory Lab equipment at the Central Resource Library . No drop-ins are allowed. Each appointment is limited to three hours.
  • Organize and prepare materials for digitization prior to visit.
  • Detailed instructions will be provided on preparing materials, using the equipment and saving to a digital file.
  • Society/Library volunteers will be present at each appointment to help.
  • Digitized files may be saved to a USB flash drive, SD card, CD or the cloud.
  • Family memories may be enjoyed now and for generations to come.

The Memory Lab equipment will be showcased to the public at the National Genealogy Day Open House and Resource Fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday , March 11, at the Central Resource Library. For more information visit or email

Marsha Bennett is retired from the Johnson County Library and serves as vice president of the Johnson County Genealogical Society and volunteers at the Library’s genealogy desk.