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From the Third Floor - State Librarian's Office

The official blog of the State Librarian of Kansas

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May 22

Librarians' Guide to the 2020 Census from ALA

Posted on May 22, 2019 at 10:23 AM by Eric Norris

As a trusted source of reliable information in your community and the 2020 Census less than a year away – Are you prepared?

The American Library Association and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality (GCPI) have partnered to produce the Librarians Guide to the 2020 Census in an effort to give you a general overview of the who, what, where, when, and why concerning the census, and help better prepare you for the work ahead.

The Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census is available for free download at

The Guide contains practical information to assist library staff in addressing potential patron and community requests regarding the upcoming 2020 Census. The Guide includes:

  • basic information about the census process;
  • highlights of new components in the 2020 Census, such as the online response option;
  • frequently asked questions;
  • a timeline of key census dates;
  • contact information and links to additional resources.

Beginning on page 9, the Guide outlines specific areas of preparation for librarians and library staff to help ensure a successful count in each community, with suggestions such as:

  • Participate in Complete Count Committees
  • Prepare for increased use of library computers and internet service
  • Help community members apply for census jobs
  • Fight misinformation, disinformation, and scams
  • Provide information about census participation
  • Help reach Hard-to-Count populations

The Guide also includes a list of frequently asked questions including information concerning the possibility of a question concerning citizenship, and other changes new to this census, as well as links to more information about Counting Rural America and Counting People Experiencing Homelessness. 

The census is a tool the helps inform a wide range of decisions concerning where federal money is expended, identifying public facility and transportation needs, and the governmental representation of your community, to name just a few.  These are big decisions that are formed around demographics and information that is only collected once every ten years; it is important that your community is counted accurately.

Census Day is April 1, 2020 – Be informed and be ready!

Census Guide

-- Eric Norris