With the approaching 50th anniversary (July 4, 1966) of the enactment of the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), there was a spirit of festivity at the 18th annual Freedom of Information Day event today hosted by the Freedom Forum’s 1rst Amendment Center. While speaking to attendees about the American Library Association’s policy priorities, ALA President Sari Feldman said ALA will continue to work with a broad coalition of groups to finally and comprehensively reform FIOA in this Congress and the next.
Feldman, who honored OpenGov Foundation Executive Director and Co-founder Seamus Kraft (colleague Nicko Margolies accepted on his behalf) with the 2016 James Madison Award, brought home the theme of how important libraries are to the principles of democracy by sharing comments on that topic by several luminaries, including James Madison himself:
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” –James Madison, 4th President of the United States and author of the 1rst Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”–Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist who built nearly 1700 public libraries across the United States.
“Libraries are . . . essential to the functioning of a democratic society … libraries are the great symbols of the freedom of the mind.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
“Freedom is found through the portals of our nation’s libraries . . .” — Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough
“Getting my library card was like citizenship; it was like American citizenship.” –Oprah Winfrey, American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.
Click here for the complete copy of Sari’s Madison Award remarks