The decennial census is coming up in 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.
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 American Library Association offers a great deal of general information about the upcoming census, why it's important, and the role of libraries, including a downloadable brief for decision makers "Libraries and the 2020 Census," an article "Getting Ready for the 2020 Census: Partnering with Complete Count Committees," ALA's position on the citizenship question, an archived recording of the 2/26/19 webinar "Libraries and the 2020 Census," and much more.
- 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. NEW! The organization is hosting the Illinois Count Me In 2020 Summit on April 3, 2019 in Springfield to bring together nonprofits, grant-makers, community activists, policymakers, and others to ensure a fair and accurate Census in Illinois. Participants to the summit will learn strategies for reaching hard-to-count residents, walk away with information on how to engage in Census outreach activities, and have opportunities to coordinate with other communities across the state. Librarians are welcome! $30; register.
- The Illinois Complete Count Commission, housed in the Secretary of State's office, is the official body responsible for the count in the state. The Commission offers resources including a grant for census outreach, a November 2018 interim report to the Illinois General Assembly, information about subcommittees and local Complete Count Committees, a downloadable brochure, and more.
- The Illinois State Library will host a poster contest for students in grades 4-12; information will be available mid-March.
- The U.S. Census Bureau is the federal body charged with administering 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. Job opportunities are listed here.