April 1 marked the beginning of a year-long push to fulfill the nation’s constitutional requirement of counting and recording all United States residents every 10 years. Throughout 2019, your library is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to help answer questions about and encourage participation in the 2020 Census.
We will hold census-related events throughout the year, the next of which is an idea generation workshop on Thursday, May 30 from 5-7 p.m. The session is free and open to the public, and is designed to bring together diverse people and organizations to brainstorm solutions for some of the challenges related to the next census count. One such challenge includes how to reach hard-to-count populations and under-served groups. The workshop will be led by Kevin Flanary, a partnership specialist for northeast Tennessee, and Kim Smith from the Census Bureau’s Knoxville office.
The 2020 Census is the nation’s 24th census. The first one was taken in 1790 (before Tennessee was even a state!). Next year will mark another historic first, as it is the first year that residents will be able to complete the form entirely online. The Census Bureau has made this change as a way of reaching populations that have historically been under-represented in traditional census counts.
Completing a census form directly benefits your local community, including your library! Congress uses the collected data to determine funding for important federally-funded programs and projects such as assistance programs and housing, hospitals, schools, Library Services & Technology Acts, and more. This information also reapportions the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets, and state officials use the data to redraw the boundaries of legislative districts. Researchers, libraries, nonprofits, businesses, and real estate developers (just to name a few) use the census results to plan services, allocate resources, and invest in community development.
To learn more about the census, click here. Library staff members will also be available throughout census season to answer questions, and the library will have dedicated stations set up to accommodate people who want to file online but lack personal access to the internet. Stay up to date on upcoming census events at the library throughout 2019 by calling 423-434-4450 and following Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram.