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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Government Information Liberation Day

It is done. New web pages for the White House. I understand it was an outstanding inauguration — which I did not get to see or listen to because life was making other unexpected plans today — I did record about seven hours of the event on my DVR, and expect to go back and watch it when I can. In the meantime, I’ve put a general news blackout on the speech and its contents until I can experience it as it happened through delayed TV. Going to be interesting to see if I can carry this off — judging from the blog posts here at FGI, I kinda feel like the only government information librarian who did not watch, read, or listen to the remarks. Either this is a fascinating twist on my long 75 day slog to liberation; or its a metaphor for our time that one can be so selective in choosing from the media stream.

But, I do not think we have to hear the speech to understand that our collective task remains unfinished — to sustain an accessible and permanent infrastructure of civic information. I believe Obama and his policies favor many or our ideals, and where other administrations choose either indifference or resistance to this notion, I think we are going to experience a bit of a golden age in regards to public information.

Part of the this optimism stems from the capabilities of technology. Part of it comes from the reborn notion that government just might be a positive force in our society. In either case, libraries and their civic minded employees have their work cut out for them if they want to make a serious bid for both relevance and effectiveness in this new age of democratic possibilities.

To this end, as I have mentioned before, a series of critical discussions will take place at various national level librarian conferences. It starts with the ALA midwinter confab in Denver at the end of this week. followed by at least three other meetings before the gathering during July in Chicago for ALA’s annual gig.

To this end, I am resetting the discussion time clock. 140 days to consensus on the future role of libraries in the fabric of our civic information exchange.

See you on the day after

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