EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – What was once old is now made new. On the second floor of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library downtown, you will find the Indiana Room, home to the Preservation Studio, which to some is a time machine.

“This is a God-send for me,” says Evansville resident John Baumberger. He has used the studio on several occasions, working to digitize hundreds of projector slides consisting of family and vacation photos.

“My family, my children, but my grandkids,” explains Baumberger. “When you’re 77, your grandkids mean everything to you. I’m showing them to my grandkids when they were little, and it’s pretty fabulous to them.

Baumberger says one photo he was able to convert was of one grandson more than 20 years ago, showing the two washing Baumberger’s car. From pictures and slides, to cassette tapes and records, the studio offers professional equipment for the public to use on an appointment-basis.

“It is a free community resource where it is a do-it-yourself lab, where you’re able to come in and archive and digitize your personal artifacts,” says EVPL Reference Librarian Kyle Stearns. “That way you can preserve them for future generations to look at and use.”

The program was launched in December 2019, but didn’t have the chance to grow until now due to the Covid pandemic.

“The increase from 2021 to 2022 is the room has increased by 40%,” says Stearns. “People can digitize their documents, their historical documents, letters, VHS tapes, their CD’s, like basically moving over just the photographs, simply people would upload them to a CD.”

Baumberger adds, “I can use this to actually print pictures, take the slides and turn them into canvas or prints. So, it’s pretty exciting to see them.”

Stearns says the joy this service brings to the community makes his job worth every moment.

“The look on their faces and the smiles, and just the happiness of bringing back those memories is something that I absolutely love,” says Stearns.

The Preservation Studio is open and available to anyone, but an appointment is required. EVPL officials ask that you make a reservation by calling the Central Library, securing an appointment online, or via email. Click here for more information about the Preservation Studio.