Washington Hotline

Corey Williams

Summer advocacy

by Ted Wegner, grassroots coordinator, ALA Office of Government Relations, e-mail: E-mail:

Summertime here in Washington, D.C., is always marked with heat and humidity and a frenetic July with Congress pushing to act (or not) on legislation leading up to their annual month-long recess in August. Though traffic may dwindle inside the beltway with Congress returning to their home districts, our work here in ALA’s Washington Office does not.

As such, my colleagues and I would like to share ways you can continue to advocate on behalf of libraries and the issues we champion.

Keep in mind as we head into the August recess, many of your Congressional members will be holding town hall meetings in your area. Town hall meetings present a great opportunity to both inform legislators of the work your library does and also ask where they stand on issues of importance to libraries.

During the recess, the ALA Washington Office will send alerts with talking points to Congressional districts where a member is holding a town hall meeting in a library. There is no better place to ask about libraries than when your legislators are actually in them.

Introducing Mobile Commons for library advocacy

In addition, ALA is launching a new advocacy tool called Mobile Commons. This service, already being used by nonprofits and major companies alike, will allow ALA to communicate advocacy messaging in a quick and effective fashion using an innovative texting and calling feature.

How does Mobile Commons work?

Mobile Commons is an opt-in service that will allow users to receive text message alerts from ALA. These text messages may be strictly informative in nature, they may ask a question for a poll, or they may ask for legislative action through a call alert.

What is a call alert?

A call alert is a text message that asks you to call your legislators on a particular issue. To make this easy, Mobile Commons does most of the work for you. After receiving an initial text from ALA, you simply text back with the word call. You will then receive a call from ALA where upon answering you will hear a recording of talking points for the issue. Then, you will be automatically transferred to the office of your representative or senator.

You are connected to the right office based on the address you enter when you sign up.

How do I sign up?

There are two ways to sign up:

  1. Simply text the word library to 877877 or
  2. Sign up online at districtdispatch.org/textalerts.

How often will I receive texts?

ALA respects the time of its members. You can expect to receive two or three texts a month on average.

Will my information be shared?

ALA does not share member information with any third parties. You will only receive text messages from ALA pertaining to libraries and library advocacy if you opt-in.

Will it cost me money?

You will always have the option to call your legislators toll-free through Mobile Commons. Depending on your wireless service, standard messaging and data rates may apply.

Copyright 2012© American Library Association

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