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.