Two of Bartow County's libraries are offering programs next week that focus on two very different topics: history and Halloween.
At the Cartersville Public Library, patrons can celebrate October as Family History Month by learning how to turn media from the past into digital files at a Retro Tech Workshop Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the library classroom at 429 W. Main St.
Staff members will show participants how to convert VHS tapes, vinyl records and cassette tapes into digital files using converters from a special retro tech loaner kit borrowed from Georgia Public Library Service. Also on loan and available to patrons are cleaners for records, VHS heads and cassette players.
"The program will be structured as a Q&A session to help patrons who are interested in using the equipment while we have it here at the library," adult services librarian Meghan Stipe said. "I plan on a very informal gathering where we can walk through and talk about the items, possibly see or hear examples of the converted files and work through any uncertainties together."
The information session, which doesn't require registration, will enable participants to learn the ins and outs of converting tapes and records before actually trying it, according to Stipe.
"I think it provides a great opportunity for patrons to 'try before they buy' and ask questions during the info session as well as giving them a chance to digitize old records or family videos with the equipment that we are borrowing from GPLS without having to purchase it themselves," she said. "It happens to be Family History Month, as well, so the timing worked well."
The loaner kits, which arrived at the library Tuesday afternoon, include eight different pieces that will allow participants to convert old media into new technology: a cassette-deck head cleaner, VHS head cleaner, record cleaning kit, VHS/DVD player with analog video capture cable, VHS-C adaptors for the small VHS tapes that many home movies are filmed on, turntable converter for records and a cassette-tape converter.
"[GPLS offers] this and many other awesome loaner kits and technology items to Georgia libraries free of charge, including adaptive technology for patrons with special needs, virtual-reality kits, 3-D printing equipment and plenty of others," Stipe said. "We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity for our patrons, especially since the great response we’ve had to the digital microfilm reader also lent by GPLS. All I needed to do was request a time slot for our library, and GPLS sent the equipment to us."
At the end of the workshop, participants can schedule an appointment — or they can call the library afterwards — to use the equipment through next Saturday, Oct. 19. Appointments can be made for every day except Sunday from 9 a.m. until two hours before closing.
"The patrons will need to come to an info session before their appointment since extensive guidance will not be available during all appointment times," Stipe said.
Appointments will be "customized for each patron, depending on which equipment they plan to use," Stipe said.
"We will discuss appointments during the program and over the phone as needed," she said. "Patrons will talk to me about expectations and plans over the phone when making an appointment so that we can schedule an appropriate length of time. If I am unable to take the call, one of my co-workers at the reference desk will reserve a time slot, and I will call the patron back with details as soon as possible."
Stipe said she recommends that patrons use a flash drive or external hard drive to store the converted files.
"Cloud storage is also a possibility, but depending on the size, email of the full-sized files will likely not be possible," she said, noting the library will have flash drives available for $5 each for those who don't have their own.
To schedule an appointment, call Stipe at 770-382-4203, ext. 138.
Also in celebration of Family History Month, the library will give patrons a chance to create family photo coasters Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. in the classroom.
Participants will use the library's scanner and printer to copy family photos and will then transfer those photos to ceramic tiles.
"We did a similar craft in the spring with comic books," Adult Services Coordinator Nicole Klein said, noting the idea came from "where we get most of our ideas" — Pinterest. "We thought it would be fun to make it more personal and celebrate Family History Month."
According to FamilySearch.org, October was declared Family History Month in 2001 through a bill introduced to Congress by Sen. Orrin Hatch.
"Senator Hatch wrote, 'By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family,'" the website said. "Family history enthusiasts continue to celebrate Family History Month every October."
Klein said the program can accommodate 15 to 20 participants, "depending on how many pictures folks bring and how many coasters they would like to make," and is intended for adults.
"Right now, we're planning on each participant making four coasters," she said, adding children may attend to help their parent or guardian with the project.
Registration is required by calling 770-382-4203, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a message through the library's Facebook page.
Farther up the road, the Adairsville Public Library will be hosting two separate pumpkin-decorating events to help Bartow County's younger residents get prepared for Halloween.
Kids can stop by the library at 202 N. Main St. any day next week for Drop-in Pumpkin Decorating in the meeting room.
The young crafters should bring their own pumpkin to decorate with glitter, paints and a variety of other decorations provided by the library to create their best Halloween pumpkin ever.
There will be no pumpkin carving involved.
Next Thursday, kids can come to the meeting room between 3 and 7:30 p.m. and pick out a pumpkin — while supplies last — to decorate with the supplies on hand.
This is a separate program from the drop-in pumpkin decorating.
For information, email email@example.com or call 770-769-9200.