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South Dakota State Library Services

A list of services provided by the South Dakota State Library.

Resources and Handouts

Do you want to hold a Scan For Keeps event?

Contact Brenda or Robyn at the SD State Library and let's talk!

Brenda Hemmelman
Access & Development Services Manager 

Robyn Ladd-Moeckly
​Digital Library Associate 


Institute of Museum and Library Services

Library Scan Day is brought to South Dakota libraries courtesy of the SD State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. SDSL staff time, training, and necessary scanning equipment is provided by federal LSTA funds.

Scan For Keeps FAQ

What is Scan For Keeps Day?

This is an event hosted in libraries or museums across the state, in which digitization staff from the South Dakota State Library bring scanning and photography equipment to a community and digitize photographs, documents, and objects. 

The purpose of this event is to get residents to engage in building local and state history by bringing in personal records, photographs, objects, etc. to be digitized. These items then have the potential of being shared with the local library, museum, or the South Dakota State Archives.

Most libraries, institutions, and even members of the public do not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to handle digitization projects like this, but this is where SD State Library digitization staff can help. Scan Day goals are to: 1. Identify and digitize valuable information within a local community, 2. Educate the library or museum partner on equipment used and prices if they wanted to offer the service themselves, and 3. Assist the local library or museum to raise awareness and comfort levels with preservation of local and state history. 

How do I explain the event to my patrons/community?

"Scan for Keeps Day is an opportunity for you to bring old photographs, documents, postcards etc to the library and have an electronic copy made. This will help preserve the item in case the original gets lost or eventually disintegrates with age. It also makes it easy for you to share family history with other members of your family. You can email pictures, share them on Facebook, share on genealogy websites and with genealogy groups too." 

What happens on a Scan For Keeps Day?

The local organization hosting the Scan Day will register participants for a time slot before the event takes place. Time slots are 30-40 minutes with a limit of 10-15 items per person (due to limited staff/ equipment and the processing time required). Participants should have their items selected ahead of time. Scrapbooks or booklets will take longer, so participants may not be able to get everything they want scanned in the allotted time. 

The items brought are scanned or photographed, and then the items are returned to the participants. USB drives will be provided to all participants, which will include digital copies of their items. Participants may also receive handouts and information about the host institution, the SD State Library, and the Digital Library of SD

State Library staff will bring digitization equipment to the event, including one or two flatbed scanners. One of the scanners is capable of scanning negatives/slides. The scanners can fit items approximately 8 ½ X 11 inches. Any materials larger than this can be scanned with a handheld scanner. Basic Photoshop edits can be done to photos. 

If my library or museum is the hosting organization, what are my responsibilities?

The responsibility of the hosting organization is to provide a space for SD State Library staff to set up equipment. The organization will also need to provide a table, chairs, and access to an outlet. Please contact the digitization department prior to the scheduled Scan Day if your organization has any issues with these responsibilities.

Marketing materials (like a flyer and sign-up sheet) will be provided by the SD State Library. The host is responsible for distributing the marketing materials and answering patrons’ questions about the event. If possible, the host organization is also encouraged to submit an announcement to the local newspaper. Use posters, social media announcements, local chamber of commerce, newspaper, sign boards outside the building, talk to patrons one on one, church bulletins, work with school librarians to get the word out.

The host organization is responsible for lining up attendees. Minimum number of attendees is six, otherwise the event may be canceled. 

What items can community patrons bring to the event?

Things that would be acceptable to bring: photographs, letters, certificates, journals, artwork, artifacts, memorabilia, scrapbooks, etc. Each Scan Day participant is limited to 10-15 larger items. If only photos are brought, people can bring a lot, but still need to prioritize the most important ones in case staff cannot get to all of them. 

Photographs of all shapes and sizes are encouraged, but they should be clear/ not blurry. The items brought in can be from any time period, but more recent items – like photographs – should have been taken by participants so there are no copyright issues. Photos will be scanned at a resolution of 400dpi.

It is preferred that items brought to an event are identifiable (meaning the people, location, and approximate time period are able to be determined).

Bring as much information on the items as you can. Preparing an inventory, description, or notes of the items before the event will save staff a lot of time. Try to answer these questions for each item brought to Scan Day: Who? What? When? Where?

Here are some examples for photographs to give you an idea:

  • Who?
    • Who is in the photograph? Who is the subject?
    • Include full names (avoid things like “Mom” or “Grandpa”)
  • What?
    • What is going on in the photograph? What is the context?
    • Why was the photograph taken?
  • When?
    • Try to date the photograph
    • Even a date estimation, like “between 1925-1932” or “late 1940s” is better than nothing
  • Where?
    • Where was the photograph taken?
    • Where was the photograph published?

Items that are generally discouraged include: newspapers or newspaper clippings, copyrighted materials (unless permission is obtained from the copyright holder), and anything that contains private information. As a general rule of thumb, do not bring anything to Scan Day that you would not be comfortable having displayed online.

Can items be donated to the SD State Library?

The SD State Library preserves and digitizes historical records of SD state agencies and the SD Legislature. If you have items or records that help to document the history and heritage of South Dakota, you may want to contact a local museum/archives, a participating institution of the Digital Library of South Dakota, or the SD State Archives. If participants wish to donate copies of scanned items, they may be asked to fill out and sign a permission form, which allows the items to be placed in a digital collection.

What is the Digitization Department at the SD State Library?

SD state agencies by state statute are required to submit publications to the SD State Library. SDSL is the historical repository for state government publications, some of which go back to territorial days. State library staff is working to digitize and make available online many of these historical publications. Historical documents that have already been digitized and made available include:

  • SD Legislative Manuals - Blue Books (1903-present)
  • Governors Inaugural/State of the State messages (territorial days - present)
  • Reports of the Attorney General (1897/98 - present)
  • Reports of the State Treasurer (1890 - present)
  • Supreme Court Reports (1877 - 1923)
  • Journals of the House and Senate (1887-1921)
  • Biennial Reports of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1890 - 1969/70)
  • SD Codified Laws and Session Laws (1877 - ongoing project)

Keep checking the online repository as more publications are loaded. Future titles will include SD Session Laws and SD House & Senate Journals. 

Visit the online digital collections: