Fun fact: we celebrate Freedom of Information day on March 16 because that is James Madison’s birthday. If you’ve never heard of James Madison, go look him up: Father of the Constitution, Father of the Bill of Rights, Fourth President of the United States, etc., etc.
What, you ask, is Freedom of Information Day? And why James Madison?
Freedom of Information Day is a celebration of open government, and raises awareness of the need for greater transparency at all levels. The American Library Association also presents awards on FOI Day for those who have made an outstanding contribution to public access.
James Madison is viewed as the earliest proponent of open government. His prolific essays, letters, and notes were instrumental in the creation of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and America as we know it.
What can you do to celebrate FOI Day?
- Use #FreedomOfInformationDay on social media
- Learn something new about transparency (do an internet search, read a news article, look up a video, visit a government site, read a book, etc.)
- Read the United States Constitution
- Read the Utah State Constitution
- Read the writings of James Madison (see below)
- Find out who your legislative representatives are
- Submit a GRAMA request
- Visit the Sunshine Week website
- Bring cake to work
Thank you to all our amazing records officers who work every day with government records. You make transparency possible, and that is a huge job. Keep up the great work!
Resources for James Madison’s writing
- Library of Congress Digital Collections for James Madison
- National Archives’ The Papers of James Madison (About)
- Online Library of Liberty (Includes multiple download formats)
- Project Gutenberg (Includes multiple download formats)
- Additional Resources for James Madison (by the Library of Congress)