Freedom of Information (FOI) Day is an annual event on or near March 16, the birthday of James Madison, who is widely regarded as the Father of the Constitution and the foremost advocate for openness in government.
Each year, the James Madison Award and the Eileen Cooke State & Local Madison Award are presented by ALA on Freedom of Information Day to recognize those individuals or groups that have championed, protected, and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know.
- James Madison Award – The award named for President James Madison was established in 1986 and is presented annually on the anniversary of his birth. That award is designed to celebrate an individual or group that has brought awareness to these issues at the national level.
- Eileen Cooke State & Local Madison Award – The award named for Eileen Cooke, former director of the ALA’s Washington Office, honors an extraordinary leader who has built local grassroots awareness of the importance of access to information. Cooke herself was a tireless advocate for the public’s right to know and a mentor to many librarians and trustees.