Aaron Swartz Earns ALA’s James Madison Award

The late Aaron Swartz has been honored with the American Library Association’s James Madison Award, “for his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to research and government information.”

California representative Zoe Lofgren announced the award during the 15th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C. today. The award honors those individuals who have “championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know national information.”

Robert Swartz, Aaron’s father, thanked the ALA for the award on his son’s behalf and explained that, Aaron loved libraries. “I remember how excited he was to get library privileges at Harvard and be able to use the Widener library there,” he stated. “I know he would have been humbled and honored to receive this award.”

Swartz, an Internet pioneer, killed himself in January, just a few weeks before facing trial after he cracked MIT computers and posted millions of scholarly documents from Jstor for free–he could have faced up to 30 years in prison in the controversial court case.