Rep. Lofgren presents American Library Association Madison Award to Aaron Swartz

For Immediate Release
Thu, 03/14/2013

Contact:

Jazzy Wright
Press Officer
Washington Office (WASH)
800-545-2433 ext. 8208
jwright@alawash.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, March 15, 2013, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) will posthumously award activist Aaron Swartz the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2013 James Madison Award during the 15th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C. Swartz will receive the award for his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to research and government information.

“Aaron Swartz embodied the ALA’s principles that value open and equal access to information,” said Lofgren. “Aaron’s passing is a significant loss of an outspoken and passionate advocate.”

Before his untimely death in January, Swartz was an outspoken advocate for public participation in government and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Swartz was a co-founder of Demand Progress, an advocacy group that organizes people to take action on civil liberties and government reform issues. Swartz was also a leader in the national campaign to prevent the passing of the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that would have diminished critical online legal protections.

Swartz was revered as a gifted computer programmer long before he became a public activist.  He helped to develop the web feed format RSS, the website framework web.py and the social news website Reddit. As a teenager, Swartz designed the code layer for the Creative Commons licenses.

The award, which is named in honor of President James Madison, honors individuals who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know national information. ALA has long been a supporter of open access policies that increase the amount of research made available to the public.

Rep. Lofgren, who received the Madison Award in 2012, will speak at the event on the importance of access to information. In January, Rep. Lofgren began drafting “Aaron's Law,” a bill (named after Swartz) that would limit the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Learn more about the award at www.ala.org/awardsgrants/james-madison-award.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.