Generally libraries are one of the last refuges in today's high decibel world to find peace, solace, and a quiet environment to just sit, read & study, completely undisturbed - a place where stereotypically silence is enforced with noise offenders been shut down with glares of "Sshhh, be quiet" from irritated librarians. But that will not be the case over the next few days at the libraries in Monterey County, CA where, as part of the Monterey County Free Libraries' (MCFL) Summer Reading 2012 program, several branches will host scratch/hip-hop DJs in both turntable performances and Q+A seminars - presented by a series of DJs headed by longtime friend of Amoeba DJ Quest.
"The library system's goal is to reach out to the teenage group in Monterey County, utilize the library's resources as offered, and to also get numbers up for funding due to increasing budget cuts. They have Summer Reading Program performances each summer featuring clowns, theatre, storytelling, singers, but this year is the first time MCFL will feature scratch DJ's. We are really hoping to touch as many audiences and just keep this art alive for the younger crowd. Though geared toward teens, it is open to all age groups," said Jeoanne April Martinez who was instrumental in kick-starting this wonderful free public program during her 3 1/2 years working for MCFL. Recently relocated to Las Vegas, NV Martinez continues to work in a support capacity with the Central Coast California libraries. "DJ Quest and I worked for about three months on a self-published Beginner's Handbook which will be first released for free during this tour," she said.
As for how this program got off the ground Martinez said, "Back in February, MCFL was launching its first Centennial celebration [it turns 100 this year]. Again, due to funding, we could not afford a lot of professional performers' rates. I turned to my cousin, DJ Qbert for some help to see if he would come perform for free. Unfortunately, he was going to be on tour in Australia on the dates we needed him, but offered DJ Quest as an alternative. Quest willingly accepted and brought his crew with him, regardless that there would be no pay involved. They drove 2 hours south, set up their equipment and played some music. The staff and guests of MCFL enjoyed their performance so much - it was just something new and fresh to our environment. We got so much positive feedback (librarians were dancing) that the director and the Youth Services librarian approved of allotting a contract to feature DJ Quest for this year's Summer Reading program. In return, the Foundation for MCFL made a donation to The DJ Project of San Francisco, where Quest still teaches DJ workshops. The foundation for MCFL funds most of the Summer Reading programs. The Library Branch Managers who were present at the Centennial were requesting to host DJ performances in their branches after this."
Beyond simply providing entertainment and eduction the MCFL program was featured in the library director's Board of Supervisor's report as one of the library's many efforts to promote gang prevention through literacy and library programs. The MCFL DJ program, featuring DJ Quest along with DJs 2Fresh, Polo G, Baysik, Trann, & Ewok, will visit seven branches over the next three days (Thursday, Friday, & Saturday - June 28, 29, & 30). These MCFL branches include Marina, Castroville, Seaside, Pajaro, Prunedale, Soledad, and King City. Check flyer above or the library's event calendar for exact dates, times, locations. All sessions are all ages and completely free.