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May 21, 2014

Finding Information on the Freedom of Information Act

Originally enacted in 1966, The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives US citizens the right to access to government information. The act covers agencies of the executive branch of the government. Certain types of documents are exempted by the act, including personnel and medical files, files focused solely on the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency, and those that would jeopardize the nation’s security.

According to the Department of Justice, a total of 704,394 requests for information were received in 2013, and increase from 2012’s 651,254. Their FOIA website provides access to the agency’s annual FIOA reports, the data from which is downloadable.

Individual states have their own regulations for accessing government information. The Guidebook to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts by Cornish F. Hitchcock (Dewey Library / Law: KF 5753 G852X) includes a CDRom with the complete laws for all 50 states.

The University Libraries have many resources on FIOA. We have a large selection of books on the topic, including:

Federal information Disclosure. James T. O’Reilly. Eagan, MN: West, 2012. Dewey Library / Law: KF 5753 O732X.

The Right to Know: Your Guide to Using and Defending Freedom of Information Law in the United States by Jacqueline Klosek. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2009. Dewey Library / KF 5753 K58 2009.

Fundamentals of Government Information: Mining, Finding, Evaluating, and Using Government Resources by Eric J. Forte, Cassandra J. Hartnett and Andrea L. Sevetson. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2011. Dewey Library / ZA 5055 U6 F67 2011.

Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings edited by Susan L. Maret and Jan Goldman. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2009. Dewey Library / JK 468 S4 G68 2009.

Freedom of Information: The News the Media Use by Shannon E. Martin. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. Dewey Library / PN 4745 M37 2008.

The Bush-Cheney Administration’s Assault on Open Government by Bruce P. Montgomery. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008. Dewey Library / KF 5753 M655 2008.

Who Needs to Know?: The State of Public Access to Federal Government Information by Patrice McDermott. Lanham, MD: Bernan Press, c\2007. Dewey Library / KF 5753 M43X 2007.

We also have a large selection of government documents on FIOA, including:

Too Many Secrets: Overclassification as a Barrier to Critical Information Sharing: Hearing before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations of the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Eighth Congress, Second Session, August 24, 2004. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 2005. University Library and Online / GovDoc: J 85 Y 4.G 74/7:B 27/3.

Openness in Government and Freedom of Information: Examining the Open Government Act of 2005: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, First Session, March 15, 2005.
Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 2005. University Library and Online / GovDoc: J 85 Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG.109-69.

Information Policy in the 21st Century: A Review of the Freedom of Information Act: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance, and Accountability of the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, First Session, May 11, 2005. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 2005. University Library and Online / GovDoc: J 85 Y 4.G 74/7:IN 3/33.

Information Management: Update on Freedom of Information Act Implementation Status: Report to the Ranking Minority Member, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate. Washington: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2004. Online / GovDoc: J 85 GA 1.13:GAO-04-257.

For more information on this and other topics in criminal justice, contact bibliographer Dick Irving at rirving@albany.edu or 442-3698.

Blog post created by Cary Gouldin

May 20, 2014

Summer Reading: Novels Featuring Librarians

As summer finally approaches the Dewey Library thought it would be great to highlight some fiction that features yours truly, the librarian, as a central character. These books can be picked up physically at your local library or downloaded onto your e-reader.

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The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Orlando: Harcourt, 2004.

Audrey Niffenegger’s novel bucks the librarian-as-protagonist trend by not only featuring a male lead but by also being immensely popular. The 2.5 million-copy seller is a love story centered around a man who involuntarily time travels while his wife attempts to deal with the aftermath. The interesting narrative structure is the perfect backdrop for a lazy summer afternoon.


The Archivist by Martha Cooley. Boston: Little Brown, 1998

T.S. Eliot’s unopened letters to Emily Hale have been sitting in the Firestone Library at Princeton University for over 50 years. In less than six years, January 1st 2020, the letters will be opened. In the meantime we can all read this fictionalized account of events surrounding the letters. The story focuses around the archivist Matthias Lane and a graduate student, Roberta Spire. Throughout the course of the book the pair recount their past and posit toward the future as they decide whether or not to open the forbidden box of letters.

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Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989 

One of Sinclair Lewis’ most popular novels, Main Street, centers on Carol Kennicott. Our protagonist is a librarian who moves away from the city and into a much quieter setting. Unhappy with the new environment, Carol attempts to incorporate cosmopolitan elements into her small-town world and makes a fool of herself in the process. The satirical text was written during a time when Americans were moving towards life in more “wholesome” towns and can be picked up at a number of local libraries.

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Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg. New York: Anchor Books, 2011.

This memoir encapsulates a Harvard graduate’s move from an Ivy League school into the depths of a Boston prison. Steinberg begins his tale as a graduate out of work and searching for a meaningful occupation. The reader follows Avi as he transitions between freelance stints into the Craigslist-posted job of a prison librarian. The author uses anecdotes and descriptions of jailhouse soap operas to eleoquently transcribe how the Public Library still matters for every member of a community - a place where all people can exchange ideas regardless of age, race or socioeconomic status.

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The Librarian from the Black Lagoon written by Mike Thaler and illustrated by Jared Lee. New York: Cartwheel Books, 2008.

As we look towards the end of the semester it’s worthwhile to remember how intimidating the first few days of graduate school felt. This illustrated book reminds us of how much we have in common with our younger relatives by centering on a student’s first day of school. Our protagonist Hubie envisions his first visit to a library as treacherous, a place where broken rules are punishable in the most extreme ways. It isn’t until after he meets the librarian that Hubie realizes the endless possibilities contained in his school library. This is a fun title to read to elementary students that not only entertains but also dispels popular myths about their local library.


Blog post created by Mark Seabury

May 11, 2014

Workshops for the Week of May 11th

This is it, your last chance to take our Social Welfare Research Seminar this semester!

Wednesday, May 14
2:00 pm - Social Welfare Research Seminar
For more information or to register for a class, visit our web site or contact the reference desk at 244-3691.

Post created by Cary Gouldin

May 8, 2014

Ducks at Dewey!

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We had some fine feathered friends visit the Dewey Library last week! We wondered if they had papers and exams to prepare for, or if their visit simply meant that spring is finally here.

Photo credit: Morris Stilson

May 4, 2014

Workshops for the Week of May 4th

We are offering two sessions of our Social Welfare Research Seminar and one session of our Evidence Based Practice workshop this, the second to last week of the semester. If you have been thinking of taking either of these classes, sign up now before it is too late.

Class schedule for the week:

Wednesday, May 7
1:00 pm - Social Welfare Research Seminar
3:00 pm - Evidence Based Practice

Friday, May 9
2:30 pm - Social Welfare Research Seminar

For more information or to register for a class, visit our web site or contact the reference desk at 244-3691.

Post created by Cary Gouldin