Digitising family memories for free

August 7, 2022 BY

Geelong Regional Libraries information services librarian Jo Eddey, GRL CEO Vanessa Schernickau and Kings Funerals general manager Beth King. Photos: SUPPLIED

A FREE service now on offer from the Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) will help people preserve and share their precious family memories.

The corporation is now providing free access to equipment and technical support to scan, save, edit and share old negatives, slides, video footage and photographs through the Saving Family Stories project.

Support from Kings Funerals has enabled GRLC to purchase 10 mobile film scanners, which will form part of the Geelong Regional Libraries’ “Library of Things”.

The scanners will be available for library members to borrow through the library catalogue for use at home.

Throughout this month, introductory sessions will be held at Belmont Library allowing the community to explore and learn how to use the equipment with specialist library staff.

GRL staff Wayne (left) and Ella demonstrate how the scanning equipment works.


Following an induction session, library members can book the mobile scanners to work on their own digitisation projects at their own pace.

Belmont Library will also provide access to a stationary scanner that can be used for digitising slides, negatives and photos, and equipment enabling the transfer of video footage from VHS and DVD format to digital files.

The new equipment will complement existing family history resources available through the GRLC, including genealogy PCs and specialist family history support and programs delivered by the team at the Geelong Heritage Centre.

Saving Family Stories was launched at Belmont Library on Wednesday last week.

“Geelong Regional Libraries is committed to finding opportunities to celebrate, capture and share the unique histories that exist in our region, and providing innovative and customised collections and services to support our local communities,” GRLC board chair Cr Ron Nelson said.

“Through the Saving Family Stories initiative, we deliver on both these commitments.

“The introduction of this equipment to our library collection– supported by technical and practical assistance from the Geelong Regional Libraries’ team – will be a huge asset to the general community, as well as family history enthusiasts in our region.

“We are extremely grateful to Kings Funerals for their support of this project.

“Through our partnership with Kings Funerals we can help local people to explore and preserve their family, as well as our local, history.

“Furthermore, this initiative helps the development of digital literacy in our community by providing free access to technology and support.”

Geelong Family History Group secretary Susie Zada, said the new equipment and programs wiould be invaluable for family history researchers both amateur and experienced.

“Saving Family Stories is going to help all family historians and researchers understand the importance of digitising old media such as negatives, slides and videos.

“People will realise how easily this can be achieved with the tutorial videos and hand-on help sessions.

“Most family historians cannot afford this sort of specialist equipment – so to have access to this equipment for free with a library membership is a real win.

“We’re grateful to Geelong Regional Libraries and Kings Funerals for such creative and forward thinking.”

Head to the Geelong Regional Libraries’ online catalogue at grlc.vic.gov.au to borrow a mobile scanner, or speak with a team member at your local library for more information.GRL staff Wayne (left) and Ella demonstrate how the scanning equipment works.