Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) honors James Madison, Father of the Constitution and life-long advocate for governmental transparency, by celebrating Freedom of Information Day on Madison’s birthday, March 16th. On this day, the ALA gives out the Madison Awards to individuals and groups who have championed public access to governmental information.
The second Madison Award is the Eileen Cooke State & Local Madison Award, named after the past ALA Washington Office Director, to individuals or groups who champion government transparency on the state or local level. This year’s award will go to the Florida First Amendment Foundation and its president, Barbara Petersen, for their tireless work on information transparency and advocacy in Florida.
Information on the 2018 Freedom of Information Day can be found at http://www.ilovelibraries.org/article/freedom-information-day-2018-liberty-and-open-access-all.
It is worth noting that Freedom of Information Day takes place during Sunshine Week, a week celebrating and advocating for transparency and freedom of the press held yearly by the American Society of News Editors. Information on Sunshine Week can be found at: http://sunshineweek.org/.
Our library has some excellent material on transparency and first amendment rights in our collection. The following is a brief sample.
Cross, Harold L. The People’s Right to Know: Legal Access to Public Records and Proceedings. New York: Columbia University Press, 1953. Call number 323.44 C884.
MacKinnon, Rebecca. Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom. New York: Basic Books, 2012. Call number 302.231 M459 2012.
Williams, Frederick. The People’s Right to Know: Media, Democracy, and the Information Highway. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1994. Call number 302.23 P39.
Williams, Susan Hoffman. Truth, Autonomy, and Speech: Feminist Theory and the First Amendment. New York: New York University Press, 2004. Call number 342.7308 W675 2004.
And, for a fine biography on James Madison himself, see:
Banning, Lance. The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.