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Updated Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census

ALA releases updated Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census

For Immediate Release
Tue, 01/21/2020

Contact: Shawnda Hines, Asst. Director, Communications, Public Policy & Advocacy,

Today the American Library Association issued an updated Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census, the premier resource to prepare libraries for the decennial count of every person living in the United States.

Libraries are uniquely positioned to reach groups designated by the Census Bureau as “hard-to-count,” including young children, people of color, linguistic minorities and people experiencing homelessness. The undercounting of these groups can undermine their political power and reduce access to crucial public and private resources in the communities where they live. According to a City University of New York Graduate Center analysis, 99 percent of hard-to-count areas are located within five miles of a public library.

With support from ALA’s 2020 Census Library Outreach and Education Task Force, ALA teamed with the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality to develop the Guide, which includes:

  • basic information about the census process;
  • highlights of new components in the 2020 Census, such as the online response option;
  • expanded list of frequently asked questions;
  • a timeline of key Census dates; and
  • contact information and links to the latest resources from ALA, the Census Bureau and other organizations.

In addition to the 22-page guide, ALA has issued a suite of tip sheets, archived webinars and other resources for library practitioners on specialized topics, from securing funding for outreach to assisting hard-to-count groups in the months leading up to Census Day on April 1, 2020. To download these resources and subscribe to ALA’s 2020 Census newsletter, visit ALA’s 2020 Census web page, Registered participants of the 2020 ALA Midwinter Meetings and Exhibits may attend the session, “2020 Census: How Libraries Can Support a Complete Count,” on January 25. The panel of experts, including representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau, will discuss the Guide and census topics in a session at the 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 122-A.

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