American Library Association (ALA) Past President Sari Feldman this week presented U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) with the 2017 James Madison Award during a ceremony streamed live from the Newseum’s Knight TV Studio in Washington, D.C. The award honors organizations or individuals who have “championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know how it functions.”

In a statement, ALA officials noted that since coming to office in 2008, Tester has led congressional efforts to bring transparency to government and improve the public’s access to information. In fact, in the two months that the 115 Congress has been in session, Tester has already introduced three campaign finance reform bills to increase government accountability.

Tester joins a distinguished group of 28 past Madison Award winners, who include former Vice President Al Gore, Senators Russ Feingold and John Cornyn, philanthropist George Soros and journalist Nina Totenberg.

“In an age of information overload and inaccuracy, librarians around the country are keenly aware of the critical role they play in supporting information access and literacy,” said Feldman. “Senator Tester has not only protected but strengthened access to information by introducing legislation that brings it online to the public.”

Montana State Librarian Jennie Stapp added that Tester’s track record demonstrates that he shares librarians’ core values.