Library Census

By: Cheryl Homan-Wendell, Program & Outreach Librarian

Last year, the Census Bureau reached out to public libraries all across the country with an important request: help us get a complete count in 2020. We joined local partners in answering the call, connecting America to the first online census.

For most of us, the 2020 Census has not been at the top of mind in recent months. Yes, we’ve had other things to think about.

And yet—as we gear up for the economic recovery of the Estes Valley, taking a few minutes to self-respond to the Census is one of the simplest actions we can take to make sure our great community gets adequate funding for roads, veterans’ services, and much more.

That’s funding for ten years! And once the Census count is done, it’s done. If we don’t get counted, dollars that should rightfully come here will divert somewhere else. How many dollars? One Colorado study estimates $1500 annually comes into a community for every person counted.

Kids (including babies and toddlers), along with new Americans, are often the folks who get missed in the official count. We’re here with the friendly reminder that *everyone* counts for the Census.

Getting counted in 2020 is safe—and easier than ever with the online option. You can also save yourself, and a Census worker, the trouble of having to find you, door to door.

If you’ve already completed your Census questionnaire, a socially-distanced high-five to you! If you haven’t, now is a great time. Go to 2020Census.gov. Or visit our “Census 2020” link at estesvalleylibrary.org for FAQs with lots of helpful links and videos.

The Census Bureau is aware that many people in Estes Park get their mail at PO boxes, and they’re working to get a mailer directed to those folks in the coming weeks.

How are we all doing with self-responses? We’re getting there, but we’ve got a ways to go. As of last week, Estes Park was at a 41.6% self-response rate. Fort Collins was at 65%.

Understandable factors pose unique local challenges, like the aforementioned PO boxes, and the number of second-home residences, which will ultimately get adjusted out of the total. But with five minutes of effort, we can get the percentage climbing.

You can even have fun in the process, like making it a neighborhood challenge. We initiated a library staff challenge, for everyone to complete their census by the end of April: library staff households are 100% counted!

The library has been grateful to work on Census efforts with our partners at the Town of Estes Park, supported along the way with a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and Larimer County.

Complete your Census today, and you can say, “That’s done for another 10 years! ” If you run into any questions, give the library a call at (970) 586-8116. We’re happy to help!

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