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Media Preservation

The Cranston Public Library offers a media preservation service where older media can be digitized and copied onto disc and/or saved as a digital file.

What media can be preserved at the library?


  • VHS Tapes
  • VHS-C Camcorder Tapes
  • 8mm Film Reels
  • Super 8mm Film Reels


  • Audio Cassette Tapes
  • Vinyl Records
  • CDs


  • Photographs
  • Negatives
  • 35 mm Mounted Slides
  • 35 mm Film Strips
  • Medium Format Strips 6x22 cm

What can my media be saved onto?

  • VHS tapes and VHS-C camcorder tapes can be copied onto DVD or saved onto a USB drive as MP4 digital files.

  • 8mm and Super 8mm Film Reels can only be saved onto a USB drive as digital MP4 files.

  • Audio Cassette Tapes and Vinyl Records can be copied onto CD or saved onto a USB drive as digital MP3 files.

  • Photographs and Negatives can be saved onto a USB drive or CD as digital JPG files.

How does this service work?

The media preservation equipment is available to use by all Rhode Island residents during Open Tech Time (Tuesdays & Thursdays from 2:00 - 4:00 PM) in the C-Lab. Library staff will be available to assist you. First come, first served. Please note that the process, especially for VHS tapes, may take longer than 2 hours so you may need to come back to complete your project.

Can I still use this service if I cannot come to Open Tech Time?

Yes, you may drop off two (2) pieces of media at a time to be copied by library staff. For photographs or negatives, you may drop off up to 20 photographs, negatives, or slides. You will be asked to sign our Media Preservation Policy (link opens in a new tab)

and have a valid Ocean state Libraries library card. The library will digitize the media and then make a copy for you.

If you request the digital files of your media, you will need to bring either a USB flash drive or external hard drive with enough storage to save the digital files. We will contact you after recording your media and let you know the necessary USB drive file size.

How much does this service cost?

The service is free, but we do charge for the cost of blank DVDs and CDs in which your media will be copied onto. This cost ranges from $1-2 per disc. If you request a cost estimate, we can make a recording of the media and then contact you with the cost before it is copied onto DVD or CD.

Does one piece of media equal one DVD, CD, or digital file?

Not necessarily. A blank disc can only hold a certain amount of recorded material. If your media is longer, it may need to be put onto more than one disc. If you only want your media saved as a digital file, then usually one piece of media will equal one digital file.

Will my copied media come out better than the original?

No, the DVD/CD or digital file will be a direct copy of the original media. The equipment we use does not have the ability to alter, edit, or enhance the quality.

Can you transfer media that has been damaged?

No, we do not have equipment that can circumvent damage. There are two professional businesses you could try instead: Kerry’s Warwick Photo (# 401-732-0208) or Retromedia in Smithfield (# 401-349-4640).

Can you transfer media that has a copyright on it?

No, the library cannot make a copy of any media, such as feature films or TV shows, that have a copyright placed on them. Please see our Media Preservation Policy (link opens in a new tab)

for more information.

More questions? Contact Katherine by phone at 401-943-9080 x3 or by email at kboden@cranstonlibrary.org


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