ARCHIVED: Public Access To Government Information Award (June 2013)

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A principal tenet of the American Association of Law Libraries is the right of equal access to information for all to ensure an informed citizenry and to promote a just and democratic society. Established in 1998, the Public Access to Government Information Award is given to recognize persons or organizations that have made significant contributions to protect and promote greater public access to government information.


Recipients of the award may be an individual or organization. Members of the AALL Government Relations Office are not eligible. Recipients need not be law librarians or members of AALL.

Administration of the Award:

The Public Access to Government Information Award shall be jointly administered by the AALL Government Relations Committee and the AALL Awards Committee. The Government Relations Committee shall: advertise the award; solicit nominations for the award; review the nominations; and recommend from two to four nominees to the Awards Committee. The Awards Committee shall make the final decision from the nominees presented and notify the winner. The Government Relations Committee will handle subsequent publicity activities and any miscellaneous tasks that arise in the administration of the award.

Judging Criteria:

  • A contribution that significantly improves public access to government information, thereby increasing the public's knowledge about the workings of government. The award is given in accordance with AALL's mission to provide leadership in the field of legal information and to promote equal access to government information. The award will reflect this by honoring the achievements of those who have championed public access.
  • The extent to which the individual or organization has had a positive impact on protecting and promoting public access to governmental information.
  • The extent to which the effort advances the AALL mission and Government Relations Policy.

Award Process:

Nominations for this award are to be sent to the Chair of the Government Relations Committee, via email or regular mail.

A subcommittee of the Awards Committee, including the Awards Committee chair, will review the nominations and make a final decision on who will receive the award. Each nominee shall be considered individually and confidentially and will be judged according to the criteria listed above. Sources of information for the subcommittee about a candidate include the nominating letter(s) and recommendation(s) from the Government Relations Committee. To ensure confidentiality, contact with members of AALL other than the person(s) nominating, other Awards Committee members, and Government Relations Committee members should be avoided.

Frequency and number of awards: The Award may be presented annually, but there is no requirement that the award be given each year.

Nominations must be submitted no later than February 1 of each year.

Award Presentation:

The award shall be presented during the AALL Annual Meeting, and it will be given in the name of the Association. It will consist of an appropriate memorial to honor the achievements of the individual or organization.

Previous Winners:

2013: Aaron Swartz, Awarded Posthumously, Internet Activist, co-founder of Demand Progress, New York, NY for his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to government information

2012: Michele Timmons, Revisor of Statutes, Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes, St. Paul, MN, Chair, Drafting Committee for the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA)

2011: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Washington, D.C.

2010: Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, New York

2009: The Sunlight Foundation, Washington, D.C.

2008: Gary D. Bass, Executive Director, Washington, D.C., OMB Watch


  • Cathy Hartman, University of North Texas Libraries, University of North Texas (UNT) Government Documents Web site
  • John Joergensen, Rutgers University Law School Library, Rutgers-Camden Law School Library Digital Project


  • The National Indian Law Library (
  • Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (

2005: Ayn Crawley, Director, Maryland Legal Assistance Network (

2004: Senator Conrad Burns, Michael O. Leavitt & Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (


  • University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, GA: Georgia Government Publications.
  • Virginia Department of Planning and Budget, Richmond, VA: Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.

2002: U.S. General Services Administration, Washington, D.C., Firstgov

2001: None Awarded

2000: Library of Congress, Thomas

1999: United States Government Printing Office, GPO Access