State-by-State Snapshots

How state libraries and associations are helping census efforts

March 2, 2020

Collage of states on green background

State libraries and library associations are offering vital resources like online toolkits, training, fliers, research, and reading lists to help raise awareness of the 2020 Census—both with and without financial support from the state. American Libraries offers a glimpse at efforts in states that have and have not received funding as of press time.


Funding from state: $26.5 million earmarked for counties for outreach, some of which may go to libraries

A cohort of California librarians, in conjunction with the California State Library and the California Library Association (CLA), created an online toolkit for libraries to help prepare for the census. CLA also established an online portal of census-related information from the American Library Association (ALA), the California Complete Count Committee, and the US Census Bureau.


Funding from state: $29 million earmarked for regional outreach grants, $750,000 of which was awarded to the Reaching Across Illinois Library System

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is chair of the state’s Complete Count Commission. The State Library conducted a poster contest for students and is encouraging libraries to make public access computers available to all to fill out the census, regardless of their library card status. The Illinois Library Association has devoted a section of its website to census information, from a US Census Bureau page that debunks rumors to ALA-created resources.


Funding from state: $2,000 used from Montana State Library’s budget for marketing and promotion

State Librarian Jennie Stapp serves on ALA’s 2020 Census Library Outreach and Education Task Force and the state’s Complete Count Committee. The state library created a census toolkit and conducted training programs in late 2019 and early 2020 to introduce the toolkit and prepare local libraries for the census.

New York

Funding from state: $20 million earmarked for outreach, some of which may go to libraries

State Librarian Lauren Moore serves on the state’s Complete Count Commission. The New York State Library, New York Library Association, and Southeastern NY Library Resources Council have created online portals with information about census jobs, downloadable resources, and news. The state’s Library Complete Count Committee received an $88,000 grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation to fund training for librarians and library IT staff in the Empire State Library Network.

Rhode Island

Funding from state: $700,000 allocated to support the Complete Count Committee

Chief Library Officer Karen Mellor serves on the state’s Complete Count Committee. The State of Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services hosted two census workshops for library staffers to develop outreach plans. The RI Foundation is offering two rounds of RI Census 2020 Outreach Fund grants ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 that libraries are eligible to apply for.


No state funding pledged

State Librarian Patience Frederiksen and Alaska State Library Consultant Daniel Cornwall are members of Alaska Counts, a group run by the nonprofit Alaska Census Working Group. Alaska State Library has facilitated training webinars in conjunction with the US Census to provide tips to libraries conducting census-taker recruitment events.


No state funding pledged

The Arizona State Library sponsored “Going Online with Census 2020,” a program that provided 21 public library systems with laptops or tablets to help their communities complete the census online. Libraries were preselected based on their proximity to hard-to-count tracts. The project was financed using $47,110 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


No state funding pledged

The Panhandle Library Access Network (PLAN) offered two training programs at the PLAN Florida Mini Conference in August 2019: one on the importance of the census and how library staff members can assist patrons in completing it, and one to raise awareness of the types of products, tools, and apps available to access census data.


No state funding pledged

Ohio Library Council Executive Director Michelle Francis sits on the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission. The state created the Ohio Library 2020 Census Committee, a group of library staffers that will help public, school, academic, and special libraries prepare for the census. The state also offers resources on its website, including marketing and promotion materials, a census timeline, myths, and partnership information.


No state funding pledged

The Texas State Library and Archives, in conjunction with the US Census Bureau, sent letters to each Texas library director informing them of the importance of the census, with links to fliers and other resources, and produced training webinars in September 2019 and February 2020. The Texas Library Association presented a program on libraries and the census at its Annual Assembly in July 2019.


Special Report: 2020 Census Illustration: Kristen Solecki

Census Stats and Myths

Fact-checking the decennial count

Special Report: 2020 Census Illustration: Kristen Solecki

Special Report: 2020 Census

Your community counts