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Libraries prepare to help Delaware achieve accurate census count

Delaware Public Media

The 2020 U.S. Census is less than a year away. As state, county and municipal governments are kicking off efforts to ensure a ‘complete count’ in the First State, libraries are playing an increasing role in helping the First State get an accurate count.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2020 census will be the first that participants can respond to online, by phone, or by mail.

State Librarian Annie Norman says libraries are specially equipped to help people fill out the 2020 Census online. “We have internet access, we have PCs and we have librarians who are standing by to assist people,” she said.

Norman says librarians will also provide other census assistance next year.  “Some individuals may need help with reading or with English or those sorts of things, and we’ll provide assistance to them,” she said.

Libraries are also serving as hubs for Census employment. A recent job fair at the Route 9 Library in New Castle helped residents apply to be local census managers, listers or enumerators.

Norman says Delaware’s Division of Libraries will focus its efforts on libraries near areas with historically low census response rates — like areas of Wilmington, Dover, Bridgeville, Seaford and Georgetown.

State officials say Delaware loses more than $2000 in federal funding every year for each resident not counted in the U.S. Census. The count determines funding for programs like WIC, school lunches and housing choice vouchers. Census counts are also used to determine congressional representation.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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