Library to celebrate Freedom of Information Day March 14

NORWAY — The Norway Memorial Library will host a talk by Brenda Kielty, first public access ombudsman of the state of Maine, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, in recognition of National Freedom of Information Day.

This will be an interactive presentation about the Maine Freedom of Access Act and the openness of government information.

National Freedom of Information Day is celebrated annually on March 16, the birthday of the fourth president of the United States, James Madison. Madison is known as father of the Constitution, a drafter and promoter of the Bill of Rights, and the foremost advocate of the public’s right to openness of government information.

An ombudsman is an official appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities.

In 2012, the Maine Legislature created a public access ombudsman position to review complaints about compliance with the Freedom of Access Act and attempt to mediate their resolution, as well as answer calls from the public, media, and government agencies about the requirements of the law.

The ombudsman is also responsible for providing educational materials about the law and preparing advisory opinions and works closely with the Right to Know Advisory Committee in monitoring new developments and considering improvements to the law.

Kielty works out of the Maine Attorney General’s office and in cooperation with the Maine Freedom of Coalition. According to, “The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition goal is to educate all Mainers, from individual citizens to educators, students, the media, legal professionals, public and business officials, about their rights and responsibilities as citizens in our democracy. We aim to broaden knowledge and awareness of the First Amendment and state laws aimed at assuring public access to government proceedings and government records.”

This program is free and open the public. For more information, please call the library’s information desk at 743-5309, ext. 1, or visit