About Us

On October 31, 2019, over forty librarians from across the country gathered at the Counted In: National Forum on Libraries, Census 2020, and New Americans to distill ideas for promoting census participation among immigrants.  This event was made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the National Leadership category. The ideas culminated in marketing tools and outreach recommendations for libraries.

The Counted In forum granted exclusive attention to the needs of New Americans – whether they are refugees, asylees, documented or documented permanent residents, naturalized citizens or those with temporary protected status. As public-facing institutions, libraries play an important role in both promoting and facilitating census participation. Approximately $675 billion of federal support to states, counties, and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by demographic variables, such as national origins, ethnicity, and race. Libraries, too, require accurate census data to meet constituents’ needs. There are barriers to census participation, especially for immigrants communities. Thus, the 2020 census calls for scaled-up efforts.

The forum consisted of:

  • Discussions of challenges and efforts toward promoting census participation among immigrant communities.
  • Participation in a design-thinking workshop to synthesize recommendations for library training and marketing material.

As a result of the forum, we have created this online toolkit, which includes

  • A brief overview the 2020 Census process
  • Library marketing templates (e.g., free, downloadable, and customizable flyers, posters) and other resources
  • Recommendations for outreach to immigrant communities.

Our work supported the ALA 2020 Census Outreach and Education Task Force‘s efforts to ensure that libraries help in achieving a complete national count.


According to ALA, libraries are community anchors that:

1.) Deliver information about the census and host community outreach

2.) Provide Internet access and enable respondents to complete the Census form

3.) Serve as trusted messengers

4.) Provide access to census statistics for community members

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.