Census 2020 paperwork

The 2020 Census and COVID-19

March 24, 2020

The Census Bureau shared its tool for daily updates on response rates, as well as recent updates to census operations and timelines. Changes to 2020 Census operations On March 20, the Census Bureau announced it was adapting or delaying some operations to protect the health and safety of staff members and the public, which includes: … Continue reading The 2020 Census and COVID-19


Tom Green County Library System in San Angelo, Texas, is closed to walk-ins but offering curbside checkout services, as explained by this image from their website.

Staying Open during COVID-19

March 23, 2020

But as of Monday, March 23, a handful of public and academic libraries were still serving patrons in person. “[Southeastern Idaho] Public Health said that we should maintain services, and they’re the experts, right?” says Robert Wright, director of Idaho Falls (Idaho) Public Library (IFPL), which has canceled all programming but remains open for the … Continue reading Staying Open during COVID-19


Photo: Silhouette of man with backpack against sunset

Serving Homeless Patrons in the COVID-19 Shutdown

March 18, 2020

Originally published at Programming Librarian, March 17, 2020.  It may not be possible to offer in-person services for patrons experiencing homelessness during a shutdown, but libraries can help by making information more accessible. Stevie Pinkerton, a homeless man living in Denver, said he relies on bathrooms at Denver Public Library’s Central branch and the local rec … Continue reading Serving Homeless Patrons in the COVID-19 Shutdown




Special Report: 2020 Census Illustration: Kristen Solecki

Special Report: 2020 Census

March 2, 2020

What’s more, there may be confusion about this year’s count, which formally kicks off April 1. For the first time, the form can now be filled out online (as well as via mail and phone), and a hotly contested addition to the form—a citizenship question—was struck down by the US Supreme Court last summer (though … Continue reading Special Report: 2020 Census


Spanish-language census marketing materials used by Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library. Photo: Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library

Reaching the Hard to Count

March 2, 2020

“I was sent one of those letters,” says Rhonda Sewell, manager of external and governmental affairs for Toledo–Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL). “What’s at stake [in Ohio] is over $1,800 per person.” Sewell and others who joined the CCC decided that, to not lose federal funds, Toledo and Lucas County needed to hire a census … Continue reading Reaching the Hard to Count


Graphic: Plug into the Census

Plug into the Census

March 2, 2020

Citywide collaboration in Baltimore Baltimore received a $250,000 grant from the state of Maryland to support census outreach efforts, led by the Baltimore Complete Count Committee (BCCC). The committee has worked closely with local libraries to implement a plan for “bringing the census to the people,” says Austin C. Davis, census project manager for the … Continue reading Plug into the Census


Illustration: Kristen Solecki

After the Census

March 2, 2020

“Census data is the mother of all open data sets,” says Jeffrey Lambert, assistant director of digital inclusion and workforce readiness at Queens (N.Y.) Public Library (QPL). “It’s a huge resource about people who live in the United States, and it’s accessible to anyone.” Libraries have an important part to play in accessing that data, … Continue reading After the Census



From left: Jillian Rael, Sharon Kay Edwards, and Patricia Rua-Bashir at the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 25.

Advocacy Assets

February 26, 2020

“[People] think advocacy is marble steps and these throne rooms. [For me,] it’s handshakes and sweet tea and conversations,” said Sharon Kay Edwards, legislative monitor for the Tennessee Library Association (TLA), librarian at Motlow State Community College, and an American Library Association (ALA) Policy Corps member. Edwards and her Tennessee colleagues presented the preconference “Developing … Continue reading Advocacy Assets


Andrea Telli, Chicago Public Libraries commissioner

Newsmaker: Andrea Telli

February 4, 2020

American Libraries spoke with Telli about her path to librarianship, her plans for CPL’s future, and the effects of CPL’s fine-free policy. I understand that you didn’t originally plan to become a librarian. I actually have a master’s degree in medieval and Renaissance Spanish literature. So marketable! Then I received a fellowship, and as part … Continue reading Newsmaker: Andrea Telli