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Quick Summary

Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) has kicked off a new service we’re calling Scan for Keeps. We have purchased two high-quality portable scanners and related equipment we can take into the community to facilitate engagement with folks who might have items of historical interest and to provide them with digital copies of their materials.

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Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) has kicked off a new service we’re calling Scan for Keeps. We have purchased two high-quality portable scanners and related equipment we can take into the community to facilitate engagement with folks who might have items of historical interest and to provide them with digital copies of their materials. We have also developed metadata forms that allow event staffers to gather information about the items to more fully describe their context and subject matter.

Our first foray into community scanning events using our Scan for Keeps equipment has been a collaborative effort with the Anoka County Historical Society (ACHS) and Anoka County Library (ACL). Four events were scheduled to be held in ACL branch meeting rooms. Each event has a topical focus (history of Blaine, the Anoka State Mental Hospital, the Depression era, and suburban homes) and a relevant talk by an ACHS staff member. Scanning services are available before and after the scheduled talks. 

Community members bringing something to be scanned are welcomed by ACHS who ask if they are willing to sign a Deed of Gift to give ACHS permission to keep and use a digital copy of their items. The individual then proceeds to the metadata station where we ask for pertinent information about the item and its subject matter and record their answers. As we scan the items, we provide the community member with both TIFF and JPG versions of their items, along with some basic information about digital preservation.

We have held two of the four sessions already. Interesting items that were digitized included photos of the interior of the State Hospital that ACHS staff had never seen, advertising images for some of the original suburban tract home designs in Blaine, group portraits of members of a prominent Anoka family, and more. There will be two more scanning sessions – on April 9 at the Northtown Library, with a talk on the Great Depression, and April 30 at the Crooked Lake Library with a talk on Life in the Suburbs.

This is a pilot for our Scan for Keeps service. Future collaborations may be implemented in different configurations, but the Anoka model is proving to be a great test and learning opportunity. If you’re able, join us on April 9 or 30, between 11 and 4, to see for yourself how a community scanning event can work.

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