Government Information

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, emergency response and recovery services provided during natural disasters, 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.
 

Key Communications

  • Coalition letter in support of the Electronic Court Records Reform Act of 2018, H.R. 6714 (October 31, 2018)
  • Coalition letter in support of H.R. 6501, the Well-Informed, Scientific, and Efficient Government Act (Sept. 27, 2018)
  • Letter in support of S. 3484, the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act (Sept. 25, 2018)
  • Letter in support of H.R. 4887, the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act (Sept. 25, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the House of Representatives about reforming House rules (September 12, 2018)
  • Comments from ALA and AALL to the GPO re: copyright information in GPO bibliographic records (August 23, 2018)
  • Comments to the Census Bureau re: information collection in the 2020 Census (August 6, 2018)
  • Coalition comments to the Census Bureau re: information collection in the 2020 Census (August 1, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee re: FY19 funding for the Census Bureau (June 4, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the Senate and House Committees on Homeland Security re: immigration enforcement and family separation records management (July 12, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to Senate re: the Private Prisons Information Act of 2017, S. 1728 (June 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees re: a proposed Freedom of Information Act exemption (May 7, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in support of the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018, H.R. 5305 (May 4, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the House and Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee re: FY19 funding for the Census Bureau (May 1, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau re: public access to its complaint database (May 1, 2018)
  • Letter from library organizations to House leadership in support of the FDLP Modernization Act, H.R. 5305 (April 18, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform re: citizenship question on the 2020 Census (April 12, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs re: citizenship question on the 2020 Census (April 12, 2018)
  • Testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittees on the Legislative Branch re: funding for the Library of Congress and GPO (April 17, 2018)
  • Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the Legislative Branch re: funding for the Library of Congress and GPO (April 16, 2018)
  • Coalition letter re: provisions of the Geospatial Data Act S.1253 (April 13, 2018)
  • Letter from four library organizations to the House and Senate Subcommittees on Legislative Branch Appropriations re: a study of grantmaking to Federal Depository Libraries (April 6, 2018)
  • Coalition letter to the Committee on House Administration in support of the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (April 4, 2018)
  • Letter from ALA, ARL, and AALL in support of the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 (H.R. 5305)
  • Coalition Letter re: transparency-related provisions of H.R. 2579, the Secure and Succeed Act of 2018 (February 14, 2018)
  • Coalition Letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform re: nonproprietary identification code for recipients of federal grants (February 5, 2018)
  • Coalition Letter to the Commerce Department opposing the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census (January 10, 2018)
  • Coalition Letter opposing secrecy provisions of the SECURE Act of 2017, S.2192 (December 15, 2017)
  • Correspondence Archive

Related

Staff Contact Information

Gavin Baker, Assistant Director
gbaker@alawash.org