As previously posted, on March 15, SIBL will celebrate Freedom of Information Day (FOI Day) with speaker Robert Weissman from the organization Public Citizen. FOI Day has been the main focus of our annual efforts to highlight the public's right to know. But it need not be NYPL's only activity, and so I offer a suggestion: let's use this as an opportunity to move from one day to an entire week — Sunshine Week at NYPL!
Yes — there is a Sunshine Week. Sunshine Week was launched by the American Society of News Editors in 2005, and since 2011 the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has joined ASNE as national coordinator. Partners include the American Library Association and many others. To learn more, you can visit the website at sunshineweek.org.
James Madison - Advocate of Open GovernmentSunshine and Sunlight are two themes that make a frequent appearance in the Freedom of Information area. In particular, we here at SIBL have often recognized this topic, most recently in 2009 when our speaker was a representative from the office of then NY Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who himself was named Honorary New York State Chairman of Sunshine Week in 2008. Our 2009 speaker, Rashmi Vasisht and his “Project Sunlight: Public Integrity and Information in New York State” presentation highlighted the Attorney General’s initiatives — most prominently the website, sunlightny.com, promoting New York citizens’ right to know and to monitor governmental decision-making.
So here is a challenge and an opportunity, for SIBL and NYPL, and all of our fellow-citizens who are concerned with good and open government: let's find even more ways to celebrate Sunshine Week 2012. And in the meantime, please mark your calendars, and don't forget — Freedom of Information Day at SIBL, March 15, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.!