Government Information

The Issue

Libraries collect, organize, and preserve and help the public find, use, and understand a wealth of information from their local, state, and federal governments. For as long as libraries have been delivering government information of all types to the public, ALA has been advocating to protect and improve public access to government information. From the Federal Depository Library Program to a variety of e-government services, including the Census and emergency response and recovery services, libraries have continued to play to role of advocate for the public.

What is government information?

Government information and government information products are published, compiled, or created by the government, at government expense or as required by law. This applies to all government publications, regardless of format, including:

  • Census data
  • Scientific research
  • Laws and regulations
  • Information about how to interact with government (apply for programs and comply with rules)
  • Educational information
  • Information about how government is operating

How does ALA advocate for public access to government information?

The library community has a long-standing commitment to public access to information created by or for the federal, state, and local government. This principle of the public’s "Right to Know” is the cornerstone of government accountability and informed public participation. This is why ALA advocates for public policies that promote public access to government information, open government, and E-Government services.

Related

  • Comments to the Office of Management and Budget on Revisions to Uniform Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule and Guidelines (June 2, 2020)
  • Comments to Office of Science and Technology Policy on public access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications, data, and code resulting from federally funded research (April 22, 2020)
  • Testimony before the House Appropriations Committee regarding FY2021 funding for the Library of Congress and Government Publishing Office (March 4, 2020).
  • Letter to the Office of Management and Budget regarding the closure of the Federal Archives and Records Center in Seattle, Washington (February 19, 2020).
  • Letter to the Committee on House Administration regarding the Moving Our Democracy and Congressional Operations Toward Modernization Resolution, H.Res 756 (February 3, 2020). 
  • Coalition letter to President regarding public access to publicly funded research (January 8, 2020)
  • Correspondence Archive

Staff Contact Information

Gavin Baker
Assistant Director, Public Policy and Advocacy
gbaker@alawash.org