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Citizen DJ Music-Mixing App to Launch at National Book Festival

Release Date: 22 Sep 2020

Launch Will Feature Original Sounds Created by Youth Across America in Collaboration with DJ Kid Koala

The Library’s Citizen DJ project will officially launch at the 2020 National Book Festival with the premiere of original sounds created by youth across America. At the virtual festival, DJ Kid Koala will spin some of these original beats and be joined in discussion with young adults, community educators and Innovator in Residence Brian Foo about hip-hop, history and their creative process.     

This summer, creators from Chicago, Miami and Detroit collaborated with DJ Kid Koala to produce an album of beats using the Citizen DJ experimental application. The Library partnered with a nonprofit organization in each city whose mission includes supporting youth in their communities through project-based hip-hop culture education.

Kid Koala is a DJ, producer and visual artist who has toured with groups such as A Tribe Called Quest, Radiohead, the Beastie Boys, and contributed to film scores for “The Great Gatsby” and “Baby Driver,” among others.

“I was amazed by the tracks that all the participants had made,” said Kid Koala. “There was such a variety of great styles, tempos and moods. I approached the mix more like it was a beat tape, an intercity beat tape showcasing the work from these wonderful new producers.”

The public can access the on-demand video, “A Library of Beats: the Citizen DJ Showcase,” beginning Friday, Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. Viewers are also invited to participate in live Q&A sessions with Brian Foo and other Library specialists to learn more about the project’s launch on Friday, Sept. 25 from 3-5 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 26 from 2-4 p.m. The public can register for these and countless other events during the interactive, online celebration of “American Ingenuity” for the festival’s 20th year at

Citizen DJ is an open-source web-browser application created by Library of Congress 2020 Innovator in Residence Brian Foo in partnership with LC Labs. Using some of the Library’s free-to-use audio and moving image collections, Citizen DJ enables users to select short samples to create their own beats and sound mixes. The application is accessible for every level of musician and provides historical context throughout the process of creating sounds.

More than 100,000 user tests of the Citizen DJ application have occurred since the test site’s launch in April. Select feedback from test users have informed changes to the site, which will formally launch the weekend of the 2020 National Book Festival, Sept. 25-27 at

Through experimentation, research, and collaboration, LC Labs works to realize the Library’s vision that “all Americans are connected to the Library of Congress” by enabling the Library’s Digital Strategy. LC Labs is home to the Library of Congress Innovator in Residence Program; has nurtured experiments in machine learning and the use of collections as data; and incubated the Library’s popular crowdsourced transcription program By the People. Learn more and subscribe to our monthly newsletter at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at

Press Contact: Leah Knobel
Website: National Book Festival

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