If you're like me, some of your best albums and movies are trapped on obsolete formats like vinyl and VHS. Thankfully, the public library in Grand Junction, Colorado is here to help.

You can now convert these mediums to mp3 and digital files thanks to Mesa County Libraries. Here's how.

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Leaping Into the 21st Century in Grand Junction, Colorado

The timing couldn't be better. This last weekend I found myself feeling defeated due to the overwhelming number of vinyl records, cassettes, and heaven forbid, VHS tapes, I have cluttering my house. Most of my best stuff is trapped on obsolete formats such as these. My weekend fun included a search on Amazon as well as a trip to Wally World to see if I could find a new bookshelf stereo from which to play this stuff.

Along Comes the Mesa County Libraries

Thankfully, Mesa County Libraries posted the following message yesterday on Facebook:

Have a VHS you'd like converted to a digital file? Or a vinyl you'd like to play as an MP3? We have the equipment available for you to do just that!

According to their official webpage, with the facilities at the Mesa County Library Central Branch at 443 N. 6th Street you can:

  • Convert VHS to digital files
  • Scan old photos, negatives, and slides
  • Get data off 3 1/2 floppy disks and media cards
  • Convert old cassette and vinyl tracks to MP3

From their webpage, you can get a glimpse of the equipment available for use. The Mesa County Libraries webpage includes step-by-step instructions you can view before beginning your project. At a glance, it appears as though all one needs is a basic understanding of computers. If you want to feel really old, check out the tutorial on converting vinyl to MP3. They provide a size-comparison photo to help the viewer distinguish between a 45 and a 33.

Important Things to Remember

If you choose to take advantage of this opportunity, there are a few things you'll need to know. The Mesa County Libraries:

  • You must have the technical savvy to handle the equipment by yourself using the provided step-by-step manual.
  • The station can be reserved up to 2 days per week, up to 4 hours per session, and up to ONE week in advance during regular Central Library operating hours.
  • Due to COVID and social distancing guidelines, we will not be able to help you during your reservation. If you need additional training, staff can guide you to more resources.

Important - you'll need to bring your own method of recording your data, ie:

  • flash drive
  • memory card
  • external hard drive
  • blank disk

Conversions take place in real-time. In other words, if you're transferring a 45-minute cassette to digital, it will take 45 minutes.

Making a Reservation at the Mesa County Library

You will need to fill out a request in order to reserve the station. The station can be reserved:

  • up to two times per week
  • for up to four hours for each session (three hours and thirty minutes on Sundays)

A calendar exists where you can see the reservation schedule for the Digital Conversion Station.

Grand Junction Businesses Offering Similar Services

Converting media can be a big and tedious task. If you're not interested in doing it yourself, but would rather hire a Grand Junction area business, several are available offering similar services:

  • Snap Photo for VHS, slide, photo scanning (970-241-9425) Please note – Snap Photo is now closed, but the previous owners still do some converting)
  • Triple Play Records on Main Street (970-243-3974) for cassette/vinyl to mp3

Again, this can be a big job. Then again, if you're like me, you have generations of photos, home movies on VHS, albums, cassettes, and none of them are getting any younger. If you want to preserve these, you'll want to convert them to digital. It takes time but is ultimately very rewarding.

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