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Census 2020 for New York Libraries: Home

COVID-19 Resources

The 2020 Census Results have been delivered.

As of April 2021, this LibGuide is not being actively updated. But we will keep the information online as a reference for future Census news and future Census count efforts. Please see the full results here.

90 people standing together waiting to be counted


New York State Libraries: Guide to the 2020 Census

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. To best position libraries to support our communities in the 2020 Census, we are engaging with the Census Bureau and other stakeholders to ensure that libraries are informed and represented in the policy discussions and planning process. We are advocating for a fair, accurate, and inclusive Census that recognizes the roles libraries will play in this vital civic effort. (source: ALA)

Why the Library?

Why the Census is Important

  • Representation: The decennial count of all U.S. residents is required by the U.S. Constitution to determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College (known as reapportionment). This data is also the basis for drawing districts for federal, state, and local offices (known as redistricting).
  • Funding: The Census is key to the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding to states and localities (such as grants to states under the Library Services and Technology Act).
  • Information: Data resulting from the Census is widely used by researchers, governments, businesses, and other organizations (to, for example, plan for library services).

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.
  • 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.

source: ALA

In This Guide

Use the tabs to find information that is right for you. In our FAQ, there is information specific to:

Public Libraries

Academic Libraries

School Libraries and Educators

The Public

New Yorkers

You will also find information about:

Census Bureau jobs

Using Census Data

Downloadable resources

Government publications

Census news

Who is behind this guide?

This guide is a product of the New York Library Complete Count Committee. It was created by the communications sub-committee.

The primary author is Carolyn Bennett Glauda of Southeastern NY Library Resources Council. Please email Carolyn for comments, suggestions, and information about broken links.

Other members of the committee are Laura Osterhout, Colleen Sadowski, and Kate Hammill.

Are You in a Survey?

The Census Bureau is committed to ensuring your safety as we continue to collect information through our household surveys amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on current local area conditions and federal guidance, the Census Bureau will resume limited in-person interviews for household surveys in selected states. All survey operations are subject to ongoing public health updates and assessments at the local level.

The Census Bureau will update an online map each week showing where in-person interviews are taking place. For some states, in-person interviews will only take place in a limited number of areas, depending on local conditions.



Information contained in this subject guide was adapted from the American Library Association publication Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census, and  

This LibGuide was adapted from a template created by the library of the University of Maine. Thank you!

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065