As many of you are undoubtedly aware, this past Sunday the Farmington Library hosted its third annual Maker Fair. This one in particular was special, as it featured the opening of our brand new Maker Space. For my part, I demonstrated the capabilities of one of our new pieces of equipment, a TEAC audio converter. This machine can take your vinyl records or cassette tapes and either burn them directly to a CD, or convert them to audio files which you can listen to on any computer or mobile device.
Now, you’re probably thinking, why is Travis writing about the Maker Space in the Farmington Room blog? Well, it’s because this TEAC machine is an example of how modern technology and the Maker movement can blend seamlessly with local history and preservation concerns. As the staff member who works in the Farmington Room, I was over the moon when I heard about this machine. You see, we have quite a few oral history project interviews on cassette here, some of them dating back to the 1970s. I saw that this technology would enable us to convert all of these important interviews to a digital format and upload them to Biblioboard, from which anyone will be able to listen to them from home, or even on their smartphone.
Working with these tapes reminded me of my childhood, when my mother and I would sometimes listen to a recording of my great-grandfather, a man I had never met. He had been a river driver in Maine, and an interviewer asked him all about his life so many years ago. It was special to me to actually hear his stories directly from him, even across time; I’d like to think that perhaps other young people will be able to have a similar experience with the local history interviews we make available.
To be sure, this project will take time and is not close to completion, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, I’d like to share with you one of the interviews I’ve converted so far. This one features Mr. John Battista, interviewed by Alice Reinheart in 1982. Enjoy!
The Farmington Room is open to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings between the hours of 9:00am and Noon. All other times by appointment only. Please contact Travis Feder at (860) 673-6791, ext. 209 for more information.