Freedom of Information Day

Description & History

James Madison was an advocate for openness and transparency in government. On or around his birthday, March 16th, Freedom of Information Day promotes the public’s right to know and access to information.



American Library Association


Professional Learning Resources

The Justice Department has a YouTube playlist of 19 very short videos walking through the basics of FOIA requests. 

This infographic from the National Archives provides a quick overview of the Freedom of Information Act. 

The Office of Government Information Services provides support to the public and agencies by addressing questions and concerns about the FOIA process as well as supporting resolutions of disputes that may occur during a FOIA process.


Learner Engagement Resources 

This lesson plan from Docs Teach uses resources that were not available until the Freedom of Information Act passed in 1966 giving the public the right to some government information. Examine the FBI documents from Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. This lesson plan is best for high school students. 

Use the picture book "Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America" by Carole Boston Weatherford to launch a discussion of how a free press supports the freedom of information. A description of the book is included along with an activity for creating news journalist figures from clothespins. This lesson is for elementary, although the text will be excellent for launching conversations in any grade level.