Social Distance, Civic Duty, and the Census



People all across the country are social distancing and have time on their hands right now. It’s important to remember; it has never been easier to respond to the census on your own — online, by phone, or by mail — without ever having to meet a census taker face-to-face.

The 2020 Census is now open for response! Remember, you don’t need to leave your house or need an invitation to complete your questionnaire — you can submit your information online, by mail, and by phone right now.

What can we do when our libraries are closed? Here, we address serving patrons during a pandemic (i.e. via social media, email blasters, newsletters, and phone calls). If you have further questions, please contact Jessica Dawkins at (307) 777-6337 or jessica.dawkins@wyo.gov.

What’s new?

Self-response is open and has been extended to receive submissions until July 14, 2020 (subject to change at the U.S. Census Bureau’s discretion). April 1st is still Census Day. Your library can plan a social media campaign to spread the word on April 1st — use the graphics below (click each image to view full size and download), or make your own. Use #Census2020, #CountOnLibraries, and #WyomingCounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more. You can also use these graphics in emails and newsletters to your patrons. We can still make an impact in our communities, and in the Wyoming count, even if we aren’t seeing each other face-to-face right now.

From the American Library Association: “Even if their buildings are closed to the public, libraries can inform their communities about the 2020 Census by sharing information by social media, email, or newsletter. For resources, see the Census Bureau’s outreach materials, or materials from partners like Sesame Workshop, Seussville, and Nickelodeon. Use the hashtag #CountOnLibraries on social media to join the conversation.”

Patrons and coworkers may be feeling helpless right now. The census is one rway to help yourself, your family, and your community. It takes less time to complete than it takes to drink a cup of coffee. It¦s easy, important, and safe — these are the things your patrons want to feel right now.

How are you promoting the 2020 Census during these closures? We want to know! Email susan.mark@wyo.gov or jessica.dawkins@wyo.gov, or tweet us @WyoLibraries.

What’s next?

Here are some ideas to move your library’s crucial Census 2020 journey forward during these current events:

  • Add a message to your email signature saying your organization supports the 2020 Census and a complete count in Wyoming
  • Send an e-blast to patrons and colleagues that self-response is now open and easier than ever
  • Add a link to the 2020census.gov website on your library’s home page
  • Pin a post to the top your social media pages
  • Take a pledge to complete your census questionnaire and challenge your friends and family to do the same (here)
  • Put a 2020 Census frame on your library’s Facebook profile picture, add 2020 Census stickers to your Instagram stories
  • Issue a challenge to another library or organization in your community using the Response Rate Challenge Toolkit

Watch the response as it happens — the U.S. Census Bureau launched a new online map as part of its 2020 Census Response Rate Challenge. This will be updated every day in the afternoon.

Recap from last week: There is a COVID-19 task force established within the Bureau to track news, rumors, and to communicate with federal, state, and local health authorities. Regardless of this situation, the U.S. Census Bureau must fulfill the constitutional obligation and their core task of counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place, and have taken great measures to prioritize the safety and well-being of U.S. residents and census workers even before this event. The more questionnaires completed, the fewer houses census representatives will need to visit.

To help promote real information about the 2020 Census and to stay up to date with official census news, follow the U.S. Census Bureau on their official social media accounts, where you can share Census 2020 content with your patrons directly from the source:

More resources:

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