In 2020, the Census will be conducted primarily online for the first time. Like past e-government efforts, this will likely impact libraries and libraries’ technology resources as staff work to assist people in participating in the Census. The 2020 Census also presents an opportunity to increase public awareness and use of Census data.
Prepare for increased use of library computers and the internet – Library workers can prepare for an uptick in need for these resources by considering how to speed up technology access for non-library card holders and how to handle peak demand—perhaps by designating one or more computers or mobile devices for “express” use or temporarily dedicating a device specifically for census response.
Key Roles for Libraries
- Partners in E-Government: In 2020, the Census Bureau for the first time will encourage residents to complete the Census questionnaire online, starting in March 2020. Like past e-government efforts, this likely will place additional demands on library staff and technology resources to enable people to complete the Census questionnaire. (Other response methods will also be available.) Libraries can use their experience partnering with government to assist their communities in achieving a fair, accurate, and inclusive count.
- Education and Community Outreach: Libraries have the opportunity to educate their communities about the Census. In the 2010 Census, more than 6,000 library locations hosted Census Bureau outreach activities.
- Reaching Hard to Count (HTC) Communities: Prioritize hard-to-count communities to get more accurate counts for the 2020 Census. View Mapping Hard to Count Communities, presented by ODL’s Government Documents Librarian Susan Woitte.
- Public Spaces: Census Bureau field staff often utilize community rooms in libraries as affordable temporary workspaces, such as for staff hiring and training. Other community stakeholders may also use library meeting rooms to host events related to the 2020 Census.
- Recruitment for 2020 Census jobs: The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count, and they need your help. Consider inviting Census representatives to local job fairs. Encourage people in your community to go to 2020census.gov/jobs to apply. See more resources on how your library can increase awareness of 2020 Census hiring.