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A Few Words About the District Dispatch Podcast

On December 7, 2006, the ALA Washington Office debuted the District Dispatch Podcast, a regularly updated audio program containing news and commentary about recent library-related legislation and other important topics like E-rate and copyright.

For those who are new to it, a podcast is simply an audio file sent out to subscribers or, in this case, readers of the District Dispatch blog. There are two ways to listen: 1) visit the District Dispatch blog and find a recent podcast, make sure you have speakers or headphones plugged in, and click the “play” button you see on the screen; 2) download the audio file to your own computer and load it onto your personal audio device (e.g. an iPod or other mp3 player).

Podcasts are relatively new to the Internet, gaining much popularity in 2006 along with other “Web 2.0” innovations like wikis and blogs, and they offer several unique opportunities. First, they give us a new way to connect with members, especially the younger ones who want their information in a new way, using iPods or other mp3 players. They also allow us to communicate via a new medium; not everyone has the time during the day to read ALA web pages, but they can download a podcast and listen on the way to work, for example. Finally, and possibly most importantly, they provide a high level of interactivity. People can write in with suggestions on content they would like to hear more about and maybe in the future be able to call in.

In the most recent podcast, ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff gave listeners a brief rundown of notable events at the ALA Midwinter Meeting 2007 in Seattle.

Further, during Midwinter, members of the Washington Office staff, along with special guests, are recording several Seattle editions of the podcast. Guests on these podcasts include ALA members engaged in outreach of projects and speakers from the Washington Office Update and breakout sessions on Saturday.

You can listen to any of the podcasts by visiting the Washington Office’s District Dispatch blog and clicking on “Podcasts” under the Categories heading in the side bar. We welcome your suggestions and comments at

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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