Libraries are essential to our communities. They’re not just for books. They provide creative workshops and business training. At one library in Lancaster, kids are learning to do both. It’s the site of a DJ lab series where students are turning the tables on the idea that libraries are places where you need to be quiet.
Lancaster Library is raising the roof and folks are getting down. It’s the end of a nine-week DJ lab taught by Cal State L.A. professor and DJ, Lynnée Denise.
The program is called "Turn The Tables" and it’s provided by the L.A. County Library.
Genres and eras. They learn it all.
The library might not be the most obvious place to start a DJ lab, but the success of an initial pilot program in Compton led to additional funding.
"So one of the things about the connection between DJ culture and the library is that first of all, DJs are also librarians of music, we also catalog and organize the music," said Denise.
Lani Revell has been a librarian for almost 20 years and hopes for more programs like these. To Revell, it’s more important to socially engage than to seclude.
"Speaking and just getting out there and even doing the music like that, gets them out into the public, which will eventually get them out of their shells," said Revell.
Ethan Dizon is a 16-year-old who joined the DJ lab when he saw a flyer. He came to have fun, but he got a lot more. He’s made friends and he’s about to perform for the first time.
"The kids here are so great. They’re really talented and I’m so glad to be working with so many talented DJs," said Dizon.
Denise coined the phrase DJ scholarship, an interdisciplinary approach to DJing that connects music literacy, digital skills, and business savvy.
"Definitely inherent to DJ culture as an artform is the opportunity to be a social entrepreneur," said Denise.
DJing isn’t just about scratching records. The world is too connected for that nowadays. An important apect of DJing is to understand the social conditions from which the music was born.
Only then, shall we dance.