Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) will be honored by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), with the 2014 Public Service Award during National Library Legislative Day activities in Washington, D.C., on May 5.

The Public Service Award is the highest honor presented by United for Libraries to legislators who support library issues. Congressman Sensenbrenner is being recognized for the introduction of H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill proposing amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act that would continue to protect the nation’s security while implementing rules to preserve the privacy of American citizens.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who will also receive the Public Service Award, the bill would require the government to make disclosures about the intelligence surveillance it conducts, and establish a process for declassifying opinions issued by the FISA court.

“This legislation is important to our Wisconsin library patrons,” Wisconsin Library Association Executive Director Plumer Lovelace said, “and its introduction ensures a balance between protecting library patron confidentiality while maintaining the security of our nation.” WLA President Krista Ross added, “The Wisconsin Library Association is pleased to offer congratulations to Congressman Sensenbrenner on this most deserved award. We here in Wisconsin are fortunate to have legislators in Washington who are wonderful supporters of libraries.”

Kurt Kiefer, Assistant State Superintendent, Division for Libraries and Technology, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, added, "It is important that Wisconsin citizens can trust their library as a safe and secure place that provides reliable access and meets their information needs. Senator Sensenbrenner's bill will help to ensure that libraries can continue to meet patrons' needs for career support, online applications, as well as resource centers for education and inspiration."

The Public Service Award is given annually by United for Libraries to a legislator who has been especially supportive of libraries. The first award was presented in 1989 to Congressman Major Owens (D-N.Y.), the only librarian serving in Congress. Other recent awardees include Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

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