Getting Ready for the 2020 Census (From American Libraries Magazine)
Libraries and the 2020 Census
2020 Census Dates
January 2020: Census Questionnaire Assistance will be available to answer general questions about the census from mid-January through early September 2020. However, the self-response period for the telephone option will run from mid-March through the end of July. (For more information, see Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census.)
February 2020: The Census Bureau will contact administrators of group quarters (military barracks, college dorms, prisons, and skilled nursing homes, among others) in advance of the enumeration of these locations, which will occur in April.
March 12: The internet self-response period for the census begins as households start to receive invitations to respond, either through the mail or hand-delivered in many rural and remote areas. Households may continue to self-respond through July 31.
March 30: Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) for the census will begin. This three-day/night enumeration occurs at shelters, locations that provide services for people experiencing homelessness, and targeted outdoor locations where people experiencing homelessness sleep.
April 1: Census Day! Respondents do not have to wait until April 1 to respond but should include everyone who will be a “usual resident” on April 1. If people aren’t sure, they can wait until April 1 to respond.
May 13: Census Nonresponse Followup (NRFU) will begin. During NRFU, the Census Bureau will follow up with households that did not self-respond to the census by sending reminders and/or visiting in person. NRFU will continue through July. (In communities with large numbers of off-campus college students, NRFU will begin on April 9, to reach students before the academic term ends.)
Next Steps on the Census
Librarians can help dispel misinformation to ensure a fair count
August 1, 2019
The White House announced on July 11 that it would abandon efforts to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census, removing a major distraction from preparations for this constitutionally mandated headcount. But the achievement is only one milestone in advocates’ work to support a complete count.
The Supreme Court had ruled against the administration’s addition of the question on June 27 and sent the issue back to lower courts. The July 11 announcement brought a final close to the debate for 2020. This was a big win for all advocates for a fair, inclusive, and accurate decennial census, including the American Library Association (ALA).
Research indicated that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census would likely suppress and distort responses, leaving many residents uncounted and reducing the quality of the data. While the administration still plans to gather information about the citizenship of US residents, the data will be compiled from existing government records, rather than asked on the census questionnaire. Statistical data—like census responses themselves—by law can be used only for statistical purposes. Individual information will remain confidential.
Ensuring that people have accurate information about the 2020 Census will be critical in the wake of concerns about a possible citizenship question. Library staffers and other trusted voices in our communities can help make sure people know:
- The 2020 Census will not ask respondents about their citizenship.
- Filling out the census form is important and safe. A complete count is vital to ensuring political representation, and federal funding is properly allocated based on all the people who live in our cities and towns. Communities that are undercounted are disadvantaged both economically and politically.
- US law provides strong confidentiality protections and safeguards for census responses. The law prohibits the US Census Bureau from sharing personal census responses with any other government agency, the court of law, or private entity for any purpose, including law enforcement. Census Bureau staff who have access to personal information are sworn for life to protect confidentiality. They are subject to a $250,000 fine and/or up-to five years in federal prison for wrongful disclosure of information.
- The Census Bureau will never ask for a bank or credit card number, Social Security number, a payment, or donation. People can check if they have questions about mail, email, phone calls, or visits that claim to come from the Census Bureau.
In addition to fighting misinformation, disinformation, and scams, there are other steps library leaders can take now to make sure everyone counts (and is counted).
- Participate in and coordinate with state and local Complete Count Committees. These volunteer committees are established by tribal, state, and local governments, as well as community leaders, to increase awareness and encourage residents to respond to the 2020 Census. The committees will also have information about any funding opportunities or promotional materials available to support census outreach.
- Help community members apply for census jobs. The Census Bureau will hire about 500,000 temporary workers, including census takers, office staff, and supervisory staff. The census job site provides information about job opportunities, pay rates, and online application.
To learn more, read ALA’s Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census (January 2020 Update), and find additional resources at ala.org/census.
2020 Census Partner Materials
The upcoming 2020 Census will have repercussions for communities—and libraries—around the US. Library staff members and supporters can help keep their communities informed by participating in a Complete Count Committee (CCC).
CCCs provide information to community members about the Census. State, local, or tribal governments or community-based organizations form the committees and invite public officials and community leaders to participate. Most CCCs include representatives from a broad range of industries and organizations because so many segments of a community have a stake in ensuring a fair, accurate, and inclusive Census. In a given city, for instance:
- A parent-teacher organization might be concerned with a full count of the city’s children to maximize education funding.
- An Asian-American organization might aim for complete participation by its community’s members to increase their visibility (and perhaps argue for a city council district representing their neighborhoods).
- A chamber of commerce might seek accurate data about the area’s workforce and consumer market.
By working together, these varied interests can leverage their different resources, constituencies, and communications channels to promote an inclusive count, which benefits the entire community.
July 2019 Planning for Programming Success Resouces
These links allow you to view but not edit the files.
Region 6 Sharing Session (March 2019)
A website of the American Library Association Public Programs Office; this is a great resource of programming resources:http://www.programminglibrarian.org/
We Don’t Nap We Program
The following document contains handouts that were submitted as part of the first ever Northeast Adult Programmers (NAP) Meetup that was held on February 25, 2016, at the Princeton Public Library in New Jersey.
This was an informal day of sharing ideas, lightning talks and a chance for those in libraryland who spend their days planning and delivering programs for adults to exchange ideas for programs and discuss ways to improve the planning process — and much more.
For Adults, Lifelong Learning Happens The Old Fashioned Way
National Public Radio story about the importance of adult programming in public libraries:
Gift of Bliss Coloring Pages
Free account for coloring pages to download and reproduce. You will need to register for a free account and indicate you work for a library.
Library Podcasting: A Planning Guide (From James L. Hamner Public Library)
Making A Traveling Escape Room Program (From Campbell County Public Library)
Adult Programs by Type