Illinois Libraries and the 2020 Census (**last updated: 1/17/20**)

header with image and text. image: wooden head/body pawns/figures with wooden check mark in box. text: Illinois Libraries and the 2020 Census.

Illinois Libraries and the 2020 Census

The 2020 Census is just around the corner, and IHLS, Illinois Complete Count Commission, and the Illinois State Library are asking libraries to do their part in making sure as many people are counted as possible—and it's imperative we do so to help ensure Illinois gets our fair share of federal funding. Here's why it matters and what Illinois libraries can do.

 

Census 2020 poster image: Text "Census 2020 Everyone Count!" over 5 arrow-shaped road signs with text "libraries," "roads," "schools," "healthcare," "employment." Addition text says "Funding for libraries and schools, funding for road repait, community access to healthcare." The Census 2020 logo and "Make sure Illinois Counts" is in the bottom-right corner.

Census 2020 Timeline

January 2020: Census Questionnaire Assistance opens for general census questions.

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 12-20, 2020: Invitations to respond online to the 2020 Census goes out (by mail or hand-delivered to households in many rural and remote areas)

 

Census 2020
Self-Responding Period

March 12, 2020 -
July 31, 2020

March 26-April 3, 2020: Reminder postcard sent

March 30-April 1, 2020: Census count at shelters, other locations that provide services for people experiencing homelessness, and targeted outdoor locations where people experiencing homelessness sleep

April 2020: Counting of group quarters, such as dorms

April 1, 2020: Census Day! Where will you be living on April 1? This is the address you use in your census response. Respondents do not have to wait until April 1 to respond.

April 8-16. 2020: Reminder letter and paper questionnaire

April 20-27, 2020: Final reminder postcard before in-person follow up

May 13 through July 2020: Non-response follow-up (using reminders and/or visiting in person)

December 31, 2020: Office of the President receives the counts

March 31, 2021: Census Bureau transmits redistricting files to states

(sources: Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census and Census 2020: Make Sure Illinois Counts slide deck by Joe Natale)

 

Certain Subpopulations and Geographies in Illinois are Historically Undercounted.

Demographics

According to the Illinois Complete Count Commission, these subpopulations of Illinois are historically undercounted:

  • Veterans
  • Minority communities, including racial and ethnic minorities
  • College students
  • Foreign-born Illinois residents (documented and undocumented)
  • Retirees spending summer in Illinois and winter in warmer climates
  • Farm families residing in rural counties
  • Persons living in large housing units or apartment complexes
  • Children under age 5
  • Homeless

Looking particularly at Illinoisians' race and ethnicity, blacks could be undercounted by 2.34% to 3.7%, American Indians and Native Alaskans by 0.41% to 1.96%, Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander by 0.3% to 1.27%, and Hispanic/Latinx by 1.8% to 3.5%, according to projections by the Urban Institute. Whites may be over-counted by 0.15% to 0.82% (Urban Institute).

Geographies

Certain geographies in Illinois are also historically hard-to-count. During Census 2010, nearly 1 in 5 Illinoisans—19.3% of our state's population—neglected to mail back their questionnaire and thus required in-person follow-up. Many of these no-response households fell in certain geographic tracts. It is estimated that approximately 16% of Illinois's current population live in these hard-to-count geographic tracts, making these areas more likely to be undercounted (HTC 2020). These areas include:

  • East St.Louis and these surrounding areas: Brooklyn, Bunkum, Cahokia, Centreville, Exermont, French Village, National City, Rosemont, Sauget
  • Cairo and southeast Alexander County
  • Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area
  • Charleston
  • Danville
  • Decatur
  • Herrin
  • Mt. Vernon
  • Springfield
  • South Roxana down to northern Pontoon Beach
  • Ullin, Pulaski, Mound City, and the western half of Pulaski County
    (HTC 2020)

Why does it matter? Here's what's at stake.

Funding for Illinois libraries and social services

As little as a 1% undercount would result in the State of Illinois losing $19,557,435 per year for a decade—a total loss of $195,574,350 that would otherwise have been used to support libraries and critical support services and programs. Libraries are directly affected through reduced funding from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), funding that supports interlibrary delivery, the SHARE shared catalog, and per capita grants. 

Political representation for Illinoisans

An undercount would result in a smaller voice for Illinois citizens from Cairo to Carbondale, Albion to Effingham, and Waverly to Winthrop Harbor. At the national level, this means underrepresentation for Illinoisans in the U.S. Congress in the form of fewer House seats to represent us. Within the State, an undercount could impact the perceived size and demographic makeup of individual voting districts, resulting in unfairly re-drawn electoral districts and a greater imbalance within the Illinois General Assembly, giving more power to certain districts and less to others. 


What About the Citizenship Question?

A citizenship question will NOT be present on the 2020 Census survey. Please include this in your outreach and promotion to those who speak English as a foreign language and to non-English speakers.

Want to learn more? Read ALA's position on the citizenship question.


Census 2020 Informational Resources

Webinars/Events

Upcoming

Multi types ​2020 Census: How Libraries Can Support a Complete Count (an ALA Midwinter Meeting session)
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

This session is to be held as part of the American Library Association 2020 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, Penn. 

The 2020 Census will begin in March and the results will shape economic and political opportunities for the next decade. More than $800 billion in federal funds will be allocated to states and communities based on the census results every year for the next decade—along with seats for every level of government, from Congress to local school boards. Learn what libraries are doing in communities around the country to help achieve an accurate and inclusive count in the 2020 Census, from providing accurate information about the Census to providing computers and internet for residents to respond online. This session is presented by ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office.

Moderator:

Larra Clark, Deputy Director, Public Library Association and ALA Public Policy & Advocacy Office

Speakers:

Gavin Baker, Assistant Director of Government Relations, American Library Association

Burton Reist, Assistant Director for Communications, U.S. Census Bureau

Ana Ndumu, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland College Park, College of Information Studies

Kelvin Watson, Director, Broward County (FL) Libraries Division

Publics ​2020 Census Countdown: What You Need to Know (a PLA conference session)
Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

This session is to be held as part of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville, Tenn. 

The 2020 Census begins in March and will significantly impact public libraries and the communities we serve. Learn about the new option to respond online, how the Census results will allocate trillions of dollars to libraries and other public services for the next decade, and how to equip your library to help achieve an accurate and inclusive count in the 2020 Census.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Access topical resources and tools that can support community engagement and participation in the 2020 Census

  2. Complete final preparations to address patron and community needs related to 2020 Census operations

  3. Gain strategies for working effectively with community agencies and partners in reaching hard to count populations

Presenters:

Larra Clark, Deputy Director, PLA and OITP, American Library Association

Burton Reist, Assistant Director for Communications, U.S. Census Bureau

Know of an event we missed? Email us!

Past

Academics CARLI Member Libraries and the 2020 Census: Promoting the Count (Dec. 11, 2019) event recording and presentation decks - Join Natalie Furlett, Executive Director, Campus Compact Illinois; and Katherine Paterson, Civic Engagement Librarian, Loyola University Chicago Libraries, as they discuss how member libraries of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois can help promote Census 2020 and the participation of our students and communities.

Schools ​Census EDU Summit (Dec. 4, 2019) event videos and presentation decks - The ​​​Illinois State Board of Education, in collaboration with the Illinois Governor's Office, the Illinois 2020 Census Office, and the U.S. Census Bureau, hosted a half-day summit to learn more about the 2020 Census and how schools can play a central role in helping Illinois reach hard-to-count populations by engaging students and their families.

Multi types IHLS Members Matter (Dec. 3, 2019) event recording - A portion of this bi-monthly IHLS member event included a Census discussion by Joe Natale, Chief Deputy Director of the Illinois State Library and representative to the Illinois Complete Count Commission. The recording is available now to all Illinois libraries and is cued to play at the beginning of the Census 2020 discussion.

Schools Census 2020: Make Sure Illinois Counts (Oct. 22-24, 2019) presentation deck - Download Joe Natale's slide deck from his presentation at the AISLE/IATE 2019 Conference (search "Natale" in Speaker's Last Name field).

Multi types Census 2020: Make IL Count (Oct. 21, 2019) event recording - Joliet Junior College hosted an informative program to promote the importance of Census 2020. Open to students, their families, and the community-at-large, the program featured Joe Natale, Chief Deputy Director of the Illinois State Library and representative to the Illinois Complete Count Commission, and Verenise Alvarez, Spanish Community Center 'Get Out the Count' Campaign Coordinator. 

Multi types ​Census 2020 Services and Resources (Aug. 15, 2019) recording - The second of two online roundtables hosted by RAILS for helping libraries learn more about Census 2020.

Multi types ​Census 2020 Programming Roundtable (July 31, 2019) recording - The first of two online roundtables hosted by RAILS for helping libraries learn more about Census 2020.

Multi types ​Libraries and the 2020 Census (July 19, 2019) webinar recording - This webinar, hosted by RAILS, discusses how to get your library involved with the 2020 Census.

Multi types ​Census 2020: Make Sure Illinois Counts (May 17, 2019) presentation deck - Download Joe Natale's slide deck from his presentation at the Reaching Forward South 2019 Conference 

Multi types ​ALA Chapter Advocacy Exchange: Libraries and the 2020 Census (Feb. 26, 2019) webinar recording - An American Library Association webinar featuring Marci Merola and ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo; Gavin Baker and Larra Clark sharing a Census overview and ALA resources; Michelle Perera, Jennie Stapp, and Diane Foote as panelists; panel facilitator Megan Cusick; and Michael Dowling.

Multi types ​RAILS Member Update (Jan. 17, 2019) event recording - This RAILS member events included a presentation from Mary Riseling, Complete Count Commission Program Administrator, and Joe Natale, Chief Deputy Director of the Illinois State Library and representative to the Illinois Complete Count Commission. The recording is available now to all Illinois libraries and is cued to play at the beginning of the Census 2020 discussion.

Organizational Census Pages/Resources

Library- or Industry-Specific Census Pages

Multi types ​​Illinois Library Association, Census 2020 

Multi types ​​American Library Association, 2020 Census 

Key resource: ALA Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census

THIS PAGE! Illinois Heartland Library System, Illinois Libraries and the 2020 Census

Multi types ​​Reaching Across Illinois Library System, Libraries and Census 2020

Key resource: Census 2020 Illinois library discussion listserv

Academics ​​Association of College and Research Libraries, Keeping Up with...2020 Census

Schools ​​Illinois State Board of Education, 2020 Census 

General Census Pages

Illinois 2020 Census - a website created by the State of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Human Services

Illinois Complete Count Commission - The Commission is charged with submitting a report with a recommended outreach strategy in an effort to increase awareness of the importance of the 2020 Census.​

Key resource: Interim Report to the General Assembly (Nov. 2018)

*NEW RESOURCE* Key resource: Census 2020: Make Sure Illinois Counts brochure PDF - This printable tri-fold brochure highlights why the Census matters, what's at state for Illinoisans, which subpopulations are historically undercounted, what individuals can do, ways to take the Census 2020 survey, and a note on confidentiality.

U.S. Census Bureau, Chicago Regional Office - Includes Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, and Indiana)

Key resource: Illinois Census job opportunities

United States Census Bureau, 2020 Census 

Urban Institute, The Vulnerable, Vital 2020 Census - Includes lots of information on why the Census matters, what's at stake, what populations are likely to be undercounted, and how miscounts affect vulnerable populations

Key resource: Assessing Miscounts in the 2020 Census research report

Listservs and Newsletters

Multi types ​​Census 2020 Illinois library discussion listserv - RAILS and IHLS library employees may subscribe to and browse the discussion list archives from the RAILS email lists page. L2 login is required to view the message archives or subscribe to the list.

Multi types ​​Libraries and the 2020 Census e-newsletter - Updates from the American Library Association about how libraries can play a key role in the 2020 Census, including ALA Census 2020 Initiatives, articles, and resources.

 

Printable Publications

Multi types ​​Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census PDF - A guide for multiple types of libraries documenting why Census 2020 is important, what's at stake, why libraries should help, and the basics of what libraries can do

Multi types ​​Assessing Miscounts in the 2020 Census research report - A report by the Urban Institute examining what populations are likely to be undercounted and how miscounts affect vulnerable populations

Multi types Illinois Complete Count Commission Interim Report to the General Assembly (Nov. 2018) PDF - The Illinois Complete Count Commission's interim report of its outreach and education plan, pursuant to Public Act 100-0390. The Commission is charged with submitting a report with a recommended outreach strategy in an effort to increase awareness of the importance of the 2020 Census.​

Multi types Will You Count? Renters in the 2020 Census PDF - This document, by the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University and the Leadership Conference Education Fund, summarized the importance of the Census, the risk of renters and transitory occupants being undercounted, how this undercount would affect funding for critical services (including housing vouchers and low-income energy assistance), and how readers can help.

 


How Your Library Can Help

General Strategies

Devote some staff time to Census outreach and promotion.

Illinois Heartland Library System, Illinois State Library (ISL), and Illinois Complete Count Commission all agree that it's critical for the health and wellbeing of Illinois citizens that all municipalities, counties, and voting districts are included in the Census count. (Why? Read Why does it matter? Here's what's at stake above.) Therefore, IHLS joins ISL and the Complete Count Commission in urging Illinois libraries to make Census 2020 outreach and promotion a priority in 2020. 

Consider devoting a number of staff hours to Census 2020 communication and programming. The amount of staff time appropriate for your library must take into consideration the number of personnel and staff hours, programming and printing budgets, and volunteer resources. For very small libraries, an hour a week might be appropriate. For very large libraries, 5 hours a week now and 10 or 15 hours a week later, divided among a few staff members, might be appropriate.

Develop a plan and consider all potential target audiences.

Think about all of your potential audiences, including secondary audiences. Secondary audiences can be very influential on primary audiences. For example: If your library is part of a school or has youth programming, you can reach parents both directly and through their children. The parents might be the primary target, but reaching children allows them, in turn, to influence their parents.

Educate your audiences.

Educate your patrons and community members about the importance of a complete count, including funding decisions and political representation.

Partner with organizations that serve the hard-to-count.

If your community falls in one of the hard-to-count tracts or includes hard-to-count subpopulations, find an organization that already has connections with those people. Work with the organization to reach out to them for educational and promotional purposes. Such organizations include faith institutions, community centers, social service centers, and professional associations, among others.

Promote Census Jobs

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting to fill hundreds of thousands of positions across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count. They are hiring for a variety of temporary jobs, including census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff. In the cases where households do not complete their survey online or return their paper survey, where applicable, Census Bureau representatives will be visiting those households in person. 

The Illinois State Library and the Illinois Complete Count Commission are asking Illinois libraries to help promote the availability of census jobs. Libraries can help by posting the flyers; linking to census jobs information on websites, in e-newsletters, and on social media; as well as any other creative ways of spreading the message. Please do what you can to spread the word. Learn more and download digital flyers here. Flyer direct links: English   Spanish

Allow all individuals to use public access computers—regardless of library card status.

Allow all individuals to use public library computers to complete their Census survey, even if the individuals do not have a library card. It is in a library's best interest for all members of their local and regional community to be counted in the 2020 Census. (To see Illinois State Library Director Greg McCormick's appeal for libraries to encourage Census participation and to allow Census survey takers' use of public access computers, click here.)

Strategies by Audience

coming soon

*NEW RESOURCE* Suggested Promotional and Outreach Timeline

This is one suggested timeline. Your timeline will need to be adjusted based on your library's publication schedule, staff level, and other needs.
 

Timeline in General Phases

Awareness Phase:
        January-February 2020

Motivation Phase:
        March-April 2020

Reminder Phase:
        May-July 2020

Thank You & Highlights Phase:
        April 2021

 

Timeline Breakdown

Awareness Phase

Dec. 2019-Jan. 2020: 

  • Decide how much time and other resources your library can dedicate to Census 2020 outreach and promotion

Jan. 15- Feb. 1, 2020: 

  • Talk to your library staff most likely to design/implement the Census 2020 programming/promotions about the importance of your library playing its parts to promote the Census 2020 count. Work with them to draft a Census 2020 plan (2-3 meetings)
  • Assign projects or tasks and deadlines to staff

Feb. 2-15:

  • Include an educational message and Census 2020 program descriptions (or save-the-dates) in the February print newsletter
  • Include an educational message and Census 2020 program descriptions (or save-the-dates) in at least 2 weekly/bi-weekly e-newsletters
  • Draft talking points for staff based on your library's Census 2020 plan
  • Talk to full staff about the importance of your library and staff playing their parts to promote the Census 2020 count. Share your Census 2020 plan and talking points
  • Hang posters in the building and/or around campus
  • Add information to the library website
  • Add Census Day and related events to library calendar
  • Post to social media weekly with a graphical message: an educational message or Census 2020 program info (or save-the-dates)

Feb. 16-29

  • Continue including an educational message and Census 2020 program descriptions in at least 2 weekly/bi-weekly e-newsletters
  • Continue weekly social media posts containing a graphical message: an educational message or Census 2020 program info (or save-the-dates)
  • Add Census programming events to e-newsletters
  • Hold children/youth programming events

Motivation Phase

March 1-14:

  • Include a motivational message with a call to action in the March print newsletter and all e-newsletters
  • Include Census 2020 program descriptions in all e-newsletters
  • Post weekly to social media, plus March 12, with a call to action to attend a Census party or take the Census survey
  • March 12: Targeted email 1: "Census self-response now open!" or similar message with directions
  • Put out yard signs: "Take the Census 2020 here!" or similar
  • March 12-14: Hold census-taking events
  • Contact local media about your library's efforts to promote the Census 2020 count. PITCH: local libraries nationwide, including your library, are taking an active part in promoting Census activities. TALKING POINTS: The importance of being counted (i.e. Illinois and your local area, including minorities, getting fair funding and fair representation), what your library is doing, people needing Internet access can use your library regardless of library card status.

March 15-28:

  • Continue including a motivational message with a call to action in all e-newsletters
  • Continue including Census 2020 program descriptions in all e-newsletters
  • Continue to display yard signs: "Take the Census 2020 here!" or similar
  • Continue posting weekly to social media with a call to action ​to attend a Census party or take the Census survey
  • Hold census-taking parties
  • Continue displaying yard signs: "Take the Census 2020 here!" or similar​

March 29-April 4:

  • Include a motivational message with a call to action in all e-newsletters
  • Include Census 2020 program descriptions in all e-newsletters
  • Continue posting weekly to social media with a call to action ​to attend a Census party or take the Census survey
  • Continue displaying yard signs: "Take the Census 2020 here!" or similar
  • Mon. March 30: Contact local media about your library's Census-taking parties and/or other programming. PITCH: Your library is holding Census-taking parties for all, regardless of library card status-most of the time only cardholders can use public access computers. The media is invited to take photographs and/or video. TALKING POINTS: The importance of being counted (i.e. Illinois and your local area, including minorities, getting fair funding and fair representation), what your library is doing, people needing Internet access can use your library regardless of library card status.
  • Wed. April 1: Hold Census Day Census-taking parties (adults take the real Census survey, youth take a simple, mock survey)
  • Wed. April 1: Targeted email 2: Census Day events reminder!
  • Sat. April 4: Hold second Census-taking event

April 5-30:

  • Include a motivational message with a call to action in the April print newsletter and all e-newsletters
  • Include Census 2020 program descriptions in all e-newsletters
  • Continue posting weekly to social media with a call to action ​to attend a Census party or take the Census survey
  • Continue displaying yard signs: "Take the Census 2020 here!" or similar​

Reminder Phase

May 1-July 31:

  • Host monthly Census 2020 parties
  • Update posters with a "There is still time be counted! Complete your survey by July 31!" (or similar) message.
    • Add physical starbursts to existing posters to draw attention to the change in message and urgency
  • Update posters and website information with a "There is still time be counted! Complete your survey by July 31!" (or similar) message.
  • Include a reminder message with a call to action in the May, June, and July print newsletter and twice a month in e-newsletters​
  • Periodically post to social media with a reminder / call to action ​to attend a Census party or take the Census survey

Thank You & Highlights Phase

August 2020

  • Include a thank you/wrap-up message in the August print newsletter
  • Include a thank you/wrap-up message in two of weekly/bi-weekly e-newsletters
  • Create a thank you display or celebration for staff

April 2021

  • ​​Search for the Census results (which are scheduled to be transmitted to state governments March 31, 2020).
  • Create some infographics in Canva or another graphics platform to share some Census 2020 results about your community and how those numbers might affect funding.
  • Thank everyone for taking the Census survey and supporting Illinois and their local communities.

 

Promotional Resources

Partnerships

Libraries and the 2020 Census PDF - When developing partnerships with other organizations, use this downloadable brief for decision-makers, developed by ALA.

Programming

Everyone Counts! pre-K book PDF - This English language story/activity book was developed for preschools through a collaboration between United States Census 2020 and Statistics for Schools. It can also be used for children up to grade 2.

Displays

ILA Census 2020 contest winner poster PDF - This poster was designed by Destiny Chapman, a junior at Lewistown High School, as part of the Illinois State Library's Census 2020 poster contest. It is available to libraries for promotional use as a PDF download. The poster can be printed large, framed or mounted on foam board or poster board, and displayed on walls or easels. It can also be converted to a PNG file suitable for websites and social media (see "Social Media" below). Additionally, ISL has sent a poster to all Illinois public libraries. 

Digital/Social Media

ILA Census 2020 contest winner poster PNG - This poster was designed by Destiny Chapman, a junior at Lewistown High School, as part of the Illinois State Library's Census 2020 poster contest. Here you can find it pre-converted to a PNG file suitable for online use. 

The Census is All About Power and Money video - Produced by Rock the Vote, this video looks at how the Census affects fairness of how money and power are allocated. It ends by asking viewers pledge to complete the Census. The video is hosted on YouTube and thus easily shared through social media (just remember to include the link to Rock the Vote, which contains the video and the pledge). Video-Only Link  Video/Pledge Link

Brochures/Pamphlets

*NEW RESOURCE* Census 2020: Make Sure Illinois Counts brochure PDF - This printable tri-fold brochure highlights why the Census matters, what's at state for Illinoisans, which subpopulations are historically undercounted, what individuals can do, ways to take the Census 2020 survey, and a note on confidentiality.​

Other

Matrix for Census Programming spreadsheet - Developed by the Vernon Area Public Library, this template helps libraries get started on matching up audiences and programs.

 

 

Last Updated: 1/17/2020 1:02 PM CT