Let’s Get Digital!

Do you have any old VHS tapes, film negatives, or home cassette tapes that you want to look at again? At the Central Library we can help you convert your old film to digital format!

The reference staff at Central can help you

  • Scan your photographs, using a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 wireless mobile scanner
  • Convert film negatives and slides using a Wolverine F2D Mighty 20MP 7-in-1 film to digital converter
  • Convert your old mix tapes and cassettes to MP3
  • Transfer video from VHS tape to a digital format

You have the option of receiving a brief tutorial and continuing on your own or you can get step-by-step assistance the entire time. For your appointment, bring your film/VHS/cassette tapes/photographs, and an USB/SD storage drive of at least 8 GB (preferred) or have a Cloud account to upload to Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive.

Scanning is by appointment at the Central Library- call 434.979.7151 x 4 or email reference@jmrl.org to set up a time.

MOOCs – a new way to learn

Want to learn a new subject this new year? Head online and sign up for a MOOC. MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are free, open access courses, designed for unlimited participation. Traditional course instruction like filmed lectures, reading, website links, exercises, assignments, and final projects are provided in an online environment. These courses were first started in 2008 and have gained popularity in the past few years. Topics vary widely from computer science to English composition and everything in between. 

There are a variety of MOOC providers and most include courses from major universities. To access some you may need to create an online account which will just take a few minutes. A few of the more popular providers are:

courseraCoursera (available as an app on iOS and Android) – This is a for-profit company that offers free courses with a pay for a certificate model. It offers subjects such as mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, and data science taught by universities like University of Michigan, Standford, Duke, and our very own UVA.


khan-academy-logoKhan Academy (available as an app on iOS and Android) – This is a nonprofit site that is primarily videos, but does now offer accompanying exercises for some subjects. It is an excellent resource for high school students as it covers a lot of subjects they are studying.


edxedX (available as an app on iOS and Android) – This is a non-profit site created by MIT and Harvard which now includes other contributing universities like UC Berkeley and the University of Texas. It hosts university level courses on subjects from sciences to humanities.


If these don’t have what you’re looking for, search around for another that might. 

Stay Safe (Online) in the New Year

With all the talk about hacking and internet security recently, we thought we’d highlight some products designed to keep you safe online.

1280px-tor-logo-2011-flat-svgThe Tor Browser is an internet browser that lets you explore the internet without tracking your activity (sites you visit, searches you perform, login information, files you download). Easy to install, this program can be kept on and run from a portable USB drive. It works on all major operating systems and is pre-configured for ease of use.


ddg-icon_256x256DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t keep track of any search that you perform or the location you are searching from. It won’t follow you across sites with ads or remember any personal information. You don’t have to install anything, just go to their website before you search.


signal_blue_iconSignal app (available for iOS and Android devices) is a free messenger app that allows you to send private messages,  photos, and video to your current contacts without a separate login. You can also place calls. All calls and messaging are encrypted and completely protected from Signal as well as outside parties. No call or message logs are maintained by the company.


Go ahead and give any of these a try for a more secure web presence in 2017.