Editor’s note: The above video is from the first installment of the event series on Sunday, August 6. There are three more installments that will be held each Sunday of the month.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Did you know you can check out more than just books from the Austin Public Library?
APL’s Carver Branch location houses a vinyl record collection of a few hundred records, spanning from a pressing of the first album from The Jackson 5 to jazz collections from the 60s and 70s.
The Carver Branch is the only of Austin Public Library’s system of 20 locations that has vinyl records available for checkout. It recently had to fight to keep the vinyl on the shelves after talks about lower interest in the medium, a staff member of the library told KXAN during a visit to the location.
However, there’s been an uptick in interest in vinyl records over the last few years in the U.S., especially in 2022.
A report from the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA, shows the growth in detail; last year, vinyl record sales surpassed CD sales for the first time since the 80s.
Throughout the month of August, the Carver Branch is showcasing its vinyl collection by hosting “Vinyl Brunch” each Sunday of the month. The event series will feature Austin DJs, including DJ Future Soul, DJ Shani, JT Donaldson, and DJ Mahealani.
Shelbi Mitchell, Program Coordinator of Music and Entertainment for the City of Austin, explained how the event series shows the community how many good resources the library has to offer, vinyl records being one of them.
“Resources, especially for this part of Austin, have been pivotal for the growth of this community, and we always want to educate, push and promote what people have access to,” Mitchell said.
The branch in the past has hosted “Vinyl Shuffle,” but this is the first event professionals come to deejay.
Austin-based DJ Mahealani, who’s been deejaying for 20 years, said she does community events like Vinyl Brunch as often as possible.
Not only will Mahealani play at the library on August 27, but she also teaches vinyl DJ skills and has taught at Girls Rock Camp. She also teaches private lessons from her home.
“Highlighting the art of vinyl, especially as we come upon hip hop’s 50th birthday this month, is an important part of our music culture and history,” Mahealani said. “My hope is that it will inspire new generations to carry this art forward, especially since folks can also check out vinyl from the library!”
JT Donaldson, an Austin-based DJ who will be featured at the Aug. 20 edition of Vinyl Brunch, shared a similar sentiment.
“I think these kind of events offer a huge benefit to the city culturally while celebrating our local talent and providing opportunities for musicians and artists to reach an audience outside their typical demographic. It’s important to showcase the talent the city has to offer,” Donaldson said. “I think it’s incredibly important to support our libraries, especially in this current climate of book banning and literary censorship. It’s wonderful to celebrate the many resources libraries provide our community from vinyl records to CDs, comics and I’m honored to be a part of the day’s program!”
At the end of the month, Mahealani will be spinning a family-friendly set from a collection of women rappers and emphasizing the importance of to “not overlook those contributions over all these years.” She said she “looks forward to checking out the library’s vinyl collection to include some choice cuts in my set.”
Donaldson will play a set on Aug. 20.
The brunches will be held from 12-3 p.m. in the meeting room of the library each week.