For immediate release | July 1, 2016

FOIA Improvement Act widens public’s window on workings of government

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, American Library Association (ALA) President Julie Todaro released the following statement applauding Congress’ passage and President Barack Obama’s signing of the FOIA Improvement Act into law. The bill will improve public access to government documents by codifying the “presumption of openness” declared by President Obama in his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) memo during his first week in office and will strengthen the U.S. Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). Todaro said:
"After nearly a decade of pushing for meaningful reforms to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), ALA and librarians everywhere are elated that they will now become law thanks to Congress’ bipartisan efforts and the President’s support. The new law is a ‘win-win’ for the public and the library community. Not only will it improve government transparency by opening the window on the workings of our government wider, but the law also will advance librarians’ efforts in making that vital information available to the public.
"Nationwide, libraries are often the first places that Americans visit to gain access to government information, records and resources. We look forward to working collaboratively with all government agencies to make more of their records available in support of the public’s fundamental right to know."
The FOIA Improvement Act:
  • Codifies the “presumption of openness” for government documents for future administrations;
  • Harnesses technology to improve the FOIA process;
  • Limits, to a period of 25 years, the period of time that agencies may keep records of their internal deliberations confidential; and
  • Increases the effectiveness of the FOIA by strengthening the Office of Government Information Services
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 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.

Related Links

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Memo


Jazzy Wright

Press Officer

American Library Association

ALA Washington Office