The decennial census is coming up on April 1, 2020, and libraries will be essential partners in ensuring a complete count! For one thing, libraries are trusted in our communities; for another, this is the first census intended to be completed mostly online and libraries offer both internet access and people willing to help. The Illinois State Library urges libraries to allow all individuals to use public access computers, tablets, or library Wi-Fi to enter their census information, regardless of library card status.
A complete count is not only mandated in the U.S. Constitution; it's essential for states in order to be allocated the appropriate number of Congressional representatives, federal funding dollars, Electoral College electors, and so on.
There are a number of organizations planning for the census nationwide and here in Illinois; here is an index to who they are and what they are doing. If you have a resource to suggest, please email ILA Executive Director Diane Foote at email@example.com. Get ready to get counting!
- The U.S. Census Bureau is the federal body charged with administering the census:
-Website dedicated to the 2020 Census.
-Statistics in Schools features more than 200 free classroom (and library!) activity materials based on statistics collected via the census.
-U.S. Census Bureau, Chicago Regional Office covers not only Chicago and Illinois, but also the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, and Indiana.
-NEW RESOURCE! Post these flyers in English and Spanish in your library to encourage community members to apply for census jobs. Job opportunities are listed here.
- Illinois State Board of Education encourages schools to use their status as trusted community partners to drive a complete count, encouraging the hosting of Census Nights at school.
- CARLI hosted a webinar "CARLI Member Libraries and the 2020 Census: Promoting the Count" on 12/11/19, 10-11 a.m. College students are a "hard to count" population, so don't miss ACRL's "Keeping Up With Census 2020" outlining ways academic libraries can encourage a complete count.
- The American Library Association offers a general information about the upcoming census, why it's important, and the role of libraries:
-Series of webinars addressing key aspects of the census for libraries.
-"Libraries and the 2020 Census" downloadable brief for decision makers
-"Getting Ready for the 2020 Census: Partnering with Complete Count Committees" article
-grants for libraries to bolster complete counts in hard-to-count communities (the application deadline was 11/22/19)
-ALA's position on the citizenship question (it has since been decided there will not be a citizenship question)
-Archived 2/26/19 webinar "Libraries and the 2020 Census"
-"Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census" publication
-Stay informed with ALA's 2020 Census e-newsletter
- Forefront is (from its website): "(a) statewide membership association for nonprofits, grant-makers, public agencies, advisors, and our allies. We provide education, advocacy, thought leadership, and facilitate collective action around issues that are important to our Members and to the sector." Forefront's Democracy Initiative focuses on the 2020 census, and has organized a steering committee around the census, on which ILA is represented by Executive Director Diane Foote.
- The Illinois Complete Count Commission, housed in the Secretary of State's office, awarded $1.5 million in grants for census outreach to 18 recipients including Gail Borden Public Library District, the Carbondale Branch of the NAACP, and the Chicago Urban League. Also: a November 2018 interim report to the Illinois General Assembly, information about subcommittees and Local Complete Count Committees, including links to find out of there already is one in your community and/or how to join or create one, downloadable brochures in several languages, and more.
- The Reaching Across Illinois Library System has been awarded a $750,000 grant as part of a $29 million appropriated to the Illinois Department of Human Services for Census outreach efforts. Grant recipients in 12 regions around the state will be responsible for awarding sub-grants to sub-receipients, which could include libraries in addition to other types of community service organizations. A list of regional recipients ("Intermediaries"), and interested sub-recipients, is posted on the IDHS website.
- In addition to the grant program, the IDHS has created a web page dedicated to the Census in Illinois.
- The Illinois State Library
-Poster contest! Congratulations to Destiny Chapman, in 11th grade at Lewistown High School, for her winning entry. A print poster has been sent to all public libraries in the state to help promote the Census.
-Reaching Forward South, Carbondale, 5/17/19 information session
-ILA Annual Conference, Tinley Park, 10/22-24/19 program
-ISL requests that libraries make public access computers available to all who wish to complete the census online in the library, regardless of residency or library card status.
- Rock the Vote has produced a video with a call to action to pledge to complete the census; it can be shared in communities.
- The Urban Institute has produced a report about potential pitfalls in ensuring a complete count in 2020, "Assessing Miscounts in the 2020 Census."