Welcome to AALL’s Washington Blawg!

February 20, 2008

Here at the Washington Affairs Office (WAO) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), we’re always trying to find new ways to update our members and others about the latest policy news, resources, and activities in D.C. and around the country. After considering the different ways we currently communicate with our members (primarily through our Advocacy Listserv, our monthly E-Bulletin, and AALL’s From the Desk of… E-Newsletter), we determined we needed a new, fast, and comprehensive way to update our members and friends about our work. Thus the Washington Blawg was born!

The Washington Blawg will keep you up-to-date about the policy issues that matter to AALL. We will cover legislative, judicial and regulatory activities on the state, national, and international levels and address important topics such as access to government information, digital authentication, copyright, and open government issues.

The WAO is located at the Georgetown University Law Library in Washington, D.C., a few blocks from Capitol Hill. Our location affords us the opportunity to work closely with the three branches of government to promote our issues and look for allies in other organizations. For example, we are involved in several active coalitions, including the Library Copyright Alliance, OpenTheGovernment.org, and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. The WAO staff are Mary Alice Baish, Acting Washington Affairs Representative, and Emily Feldman, Advocacy Communications Assistant.

We hope this blog serves as a useful tool to keep you up-to-date on the work of the Washington Affairs Office. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!


Save the Date for Sunshine Week!

February 5, 2008

AALL is pleased to announce that we are once again co-sponsoring the National Dialogue on Open Government and Secrecy during Sunshine Week 2008 and we are looking for host sites and co-sponsors for local programs! The national program, “Government Secrecy: Censoring Your Right to Know,” will be webcast from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on March 19 from 1-2:30pm EDT to sites around the country. This is the third national dialogue sponsored by OpenTheGovernment.org, and each year the Washington Office has helped organized the program and recruit law libraries across the country to host events in their communities.


Many AALL members have hosted or co-sponsored events in the past and we hope even more participate this year! In fact, we’re making it even easier for you this year: the webcast will be free! A satellite downlink (for better picture quality) will also be available for $250. Registration ends March 7.

(1) Host Sites: Host sites should be able to receive a streaming video feed and show the national program to an audience of, ideally, 5 to 500 people. Working with other local sponsors, hosts are encouraged to organize an audience discussion or panel presentation after the local program to discuss open government from a community perspective.


(2) Local Program Sponsors: Sponsors may work with host sites to plan local programs to follow the national program.

The event will be in two segments:

I. The Secret Executive — What Can Congress and the Public Do?

This panel will address executive branch power and secrecy, congressional rights and responsibilities, and the role of the press in combating government secrecy.

Confirmed Speakers:
Patrice McDermott (Moderator): Director of OpenTheGovernment.org. Previously the Deputy Director of the Office of Government Relations at the American Library Association Washington Office and senior information policy analyst for OMB Watch.
Anne Beeson, Director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Institute and
previously Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Mickey Edwards: Director of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership and former Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma for 16 years (1977-92)
John Podesta: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for American Progress, Chief of Staff to President William J. Clinton from October 1998 until January 2001, and formerly in senior staff positions in Congress

II. Citizen Self-Help: Finding the Information You Need

-We will be visiting and talking with creators of web sites that make hard-to-find government information easy for the public to find and use and hopefully inspire you to do likewise!
-A report will be given on an initiative to develop a 21st Century Right-to-Know agenda and recommendations for the next President and Congress.

In each segment, opportunities will be available for audience questions from all participants.

If you are interested in hosting or have questions please contact: Chris Green, Program Associate, OpenTheGovernment.org.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

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