Friends of Libraries U.S.A. presented its 2004 Public Service Award to Representative Bernard Sanders (D-VT) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). This commendation, which recognizes outstanding support for libraries by national leaders, was presented during Library Legislative Day on Tuesday, May 4, during the American Library Association Washington Office’s reception following the day’s activities.
Senator Russ Feingold (the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act) introduced legislation to protect personal information last summer. “The American People want the FBI to be focused on preventing terrorism,” Feingold said. “It makes sense to make some changes to the law to allow the FBI access to the information that it needs to prevent terrorism. But as more and more Americans are realizing, we do not need to change the values that constitute who we are as a nation in order to protect ourselves from terrorism. We can protect both our nation and our privacy and civil liberties.”
In March of 2003, Representative Bernie Sanders introduced H.R. 1157, the Freedom to Read Protection Act which was the first piece of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives to amend the Patriot Act. As one of only 66 U.S. Representative to vote against the act, Sanders said, “All Americans want to protect our country from terrorism. But the way to do this is not by abandoning the principles that have guided our nation for more than 200 years. The war on terrorism must not be used as an excuse to trample on our civil liberties.”
Both Feingold and Sanders are being honored for their work to protect the confidentiality of library records put at risk in the USA Patriot Act. FOLUSA salutes their courage and their dedication to the protection of civil liberties.