Memorial Hall Library will close at 5pm Wednesday, November 22nd and remain closed through Friday, November 24th for Thanksgiving.

Memorial Hall Library

Digitize film slides and negatives

film scanner

Do you have old family vacation slides gathering dust, or film negatives you want to share to social media? Bring them in to MHL! The library has a film scanner that can be used to digitize slides and negatives.

The film scanner is located in the Reference Area and is available on a first-come, first-served basis whenever the library is open. For more information, read the Frequently Asked Questions below or contact our Reference Desk (978-623-8430 | rdesk@mhl.org).

Film scanner FAQs

What is this?

This scanner allows you to digitally preserve your slides and/or negatives. It can scan and create digital images out of 35 mm negative and postive film strips, 120 format film, and 35 mm mounted positive slides.

How does it work?

(Library staff can show you how to do any or all of this. Ask if you have questions!)

  1. Open the scanner lid and remove the white protective cover from the top of the scanner.
  2. Ask at the Reference Desk for the appropriate film guide. We have film guides for 35 mm film strips, 35 mm mounted slides, and 120 format film.
    • if you have 35 mm film strips, load the film into the guide, then put the guide on the scanner bed.
    • if you have mounted slides or 120 format film, put the guide on the scanner bed, then load the slides/film into the guide.
  3. On the computer that the scanner is attached to, launch the LJ Scan Utility software. 
  4. Click the Custom button.

    The software will automatically save to the computer's Desktop one digital image for each mounted slide or film strip frame in the film guide.
  5. When you are finished scanning, save the images onto a blank CD, blank DVD, USB flash drive, external hard drive, or cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox or Flickr.
  6. Replace the white protective cover and return the film guide to the Reference Desk.

How much does it cost to use?

It is free, but you will need to provide your own storage media if you want to save your images to a CD, DVD, USB flash drive, etc.

How long does it take?

With default settings, it takes approximately one minute to produce one digital image. The film guides can hold a maximum of 12 film strip frames or four mounted slides at a time, so additional time may be required to load, remove, and reload the film from the guides.

What if I want to scan documents or photos?

Near the film scanner is a flatbed scanner that is optimized for digitizing documents and photos. It is equipped with an automatic document feeder and is connected to a computer that makes it easy to email or save to a USB flash drive the documents or images you scan. If you really want to scan photos or documents using the film scanner, leave the white protective cover in place, launch the LJ Scan Utilty software, and click the Auto button.

Do I have to make a reservation to use the scanner?

No, it is available on a first-come, first saved basis whenever the library is open.

What if I need help? Will you do this for me?

While we cannot do all the work for you, we'll be happy to help get you started and work through any issues you come across! A printout containing step-by-step instructions for placing and scanning the film is available at the Reference Desk.