Librarians Now Qualify for FOIA Fee Exemption as Educational Institution Requesters

The American Association of Law Libraries reports that academic librarians may now qualify for exemption from FOIA request fees as educational institution requestors.  From the AALL Washington Update:

The  Office of Management and Budget (OMB) accepted AALL’s recommendation that federal agencies should consider librarians at educational institutions, including academic law librarians, as eligible for fee exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The FOIA requires federal government agencies to disclose government information upon request unless it falls under a specific exemption, such as to protect national security. Federal agencies are permitted to charge fees for responding to FOIA requests, but there are several categories of requestors who are exempted from fees.

OMB’s new Uniform Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule and Guidelines, which provides federal agencies with guidance on how to apply fees for processing FOIA requests, clarifies that students, faculty, and staff–including librarians–may be considered under the educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters fee category as long as they can demonstrate that their request is being made in connection with their role at the institution.

For more information about FOIA, see AALL’s resources on legislative issues related to government transparency and the U.S. Department of Justice’s