Indiana’s public library districts and the 2020 census

The 2020 census figures are in, and Indiana’s population grew by nearly a third of a million Hoosiers over the last 10 years. While many were hopeful this might be the decade Indiana would reach the 7 million mark, we fell short of that at 6,785,528 residents. Some of the largest areas of growth were in the donut counties surrounding Indianapolis – specifically Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Hendricks and Boone – as well as Tippecanoe, Allen and Lake counties.

What do the decennial changes in population mean for your local public library? Over the next year or two, some patrons and staff might see changes in hours or requirements for future hires. Public libraries in Indiana are required to meet a set of standards required by statute, based on the size of their population service area. These standards dictate levels of service, including the number of hours a library must be open, as well as minimum staff qualifications related to education and experience for professional positions.

In Indiana, public libraries serving over 40,000 residents are considered Class A libraries, while mid-sized libraries serving 10,000-39,999 residents are Class B, and those serving fewer than 10,000 are Class C libraries. Just for perspective, over half, or 128 out of the 236 public libraries statewide, are Class C libraries with the lesser requirements.

Indiana public library classes are reevaluated every 10 years following the decennial census. A change in service population can affect a library’s class size, causing the library to need to reexamine their service models to accommodate the new or lost residents. In 2020, five public library systems – Goshen, LaGrange, Newburgh Chandler, West Lafayette and Westfield-Washington – increased their class size, while four systems moved down a class. For those who moved up a class, some will find they need to increase their hours, and staff accepting new positions may need to meet minimum educational requirements set in Indiana’s certification rules. This information was communicated to the affected directors in a letter from the Indiana State Library.

Indiana public libraries receive a majority of their funding through property tax dollars, so changes in population may also gradually affect a library’s tax base. Areas that have lost population may subsequently have lost funding, which disproportionately affects the smallest libraries in the state, many of whom serve fewer than 3,000 residents.

Finally, individuals who do not live in a public library service area who purchase non-resident cards may find that their fee has changed. That is because each library’s non-resident fee is based on the library’s cost per capita in the previous year, which will now be based on the 2020 population.

A table showing service area population changes for each library district from 2010 to 2020 can be viewed here.

Evaluating the census data also gave STATS Indiana a chance to update the interactive map of public library districts and contract areas in the state, which can be viewed here.

A special thanks to Katherine Springer, state data coordinator, for her assistance collaborating with the Indiana Business Research Center to examine and compile the 2020 census data for libraries. Thanks also to Angela Fox for providing public library survey data that served as the basis for determining library districts.

Libraries with questions about their service areas can contact Jen Clifton in the Indiana State Library’s Library Development Office.

This blog post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office director.

Back to the future, 1950s Style

Hey daddy-o, you’ve got it made in the shade! Word from the bird says something happened recently that’s the living end. If you know what happened, some might say you’re the ginchiest. If you don’t know, you are going to flip your lid when you find out. So, if you’re hanging out in your pad, you might want to hop on the internet and take a look at what all the fuss is about. On April 1, the long-awaited 1950 U.S. census was released to the public with great fanfare! It’s all copacetic now. You dig? You’re a cool cat now that you’re in the know.

Yes, you heard it right. After waiting 72 years, the 1950 U.S. census was just released to the public. Your first question might be, “Why did it take 72 years to be released?” According to The Pew Research center, the most common explanation is that 72 years was the average lifespan at the time this law was established. The U.S. Census Bureau states, “The U.S. government will not release personally identifiable information about an individual to any other individual or agency until 72 years after it was collected for the decennial census.” If you are interested in the nitty gritty of the 72-Year Rule you can visit this National Archives blog titled, “Census Records: The 72-Year Rule.”

Not to dampen the excitement of searching for loved ones and ancestors in the 1950 census, but there are a few things you need to know first. If you’re used to searching the censuses previous to the 1950, you know that it’s a “fairly” easy thing to do by using Family Search, Ancestry, My Heritage, etc. because the previous censuses have all been indexed by names. Currently, this newest census will still need to be indexed to be able to search by names. The indexing is taking place as I write and some say it might be finished by the end of this month. Indexing of the 1940 census took about five months to complete when it was released in 2012.

Near the end of 2020, the National Archives and Records Administration announced they would have a dedicated website for the 1950 census that would include a “name search tool powered by artificial intelligence.” In other words, this AI is “handwriting recognition technology.” Along with searching by name, one can also filter by state, county/city, or enumeration district (ED) number. I was excited to see if I could find my parents and sister on this census. The “census gods” were with me on my very first search, which was on the National Archives site. I popped in my father’s name, city, county and state and his census page came up right away! There was just something amazing about seeing my parent’s names and my sister’s name on her very first census. Unfortunately, my luck ended there on the NARA site with searching for both sets of my grandparents by their names and living in Indianapolis at the time. I had to revert to searching by address and enumeration districts. The AI handwriting recognition technology is off to a great start, and I can imagine it will only improve greatly in the years to come.

A 1950 Census page from Indianapolis, Washington Township, Marion County, Indiana.

Genealogist Steve Morse has a great page to help with locating the enumeration district of your ancestor. The Unified 1950 Census ED Finder was a great help to me in finding the ED’s where my grandparents lived in 1950. Once I discovered the ED and clicked on the number, it took me to a different screen where I could select the viewer I wanted to use: NARA viewer, FamilySearch viewer or Ancestry viewer. I found the Steve Morse site the easiest to use in finding the ED and then being able to choose the viewer right from that page was a stroke of genius! I chose Ancestry and was taken to the beginning of the pages of that particular ED. Then I searched through those approximately 20 pages for the correct address to find my grandparents. One can actually search this way from the 1870 through the 1950 Census using this ED Finder.

Numerous websites have sprung up to help you navigate this census. The online Family Tree Magazine has a great 1950 Census Research Guide. It includes tips on how to prepare for your research and what questions were asked on this census that include household information and employment questions. This article also includes the history and creation of the 1950 census, recording the census, tips and tricks on searching through this census and a list with links to 1950 census research resources.

Family Search has a very informative wiki about this census, Family Search Wiki: United States Census 1950.

If you’re so excited you’re ready to jump out of your skin, you can even sign up to volunteer to help transcribe the 1950 census! WOW, wouldn’t that be a fun thing to tell your grandchildren all about! Family Search is looking for volunteers to help with reviewing by becoming a part of The 1950 U.S. Census Community Project.

Ancestry, along with the other sites are currently indexing the census, but you can still try searching by name or you can explore maps in their 1950 census district finder to help you find your ancestors. You can visit Ancestry’s Welcome to the 1950 U.S. Census webpage for even more resources. Ancestry also released a new tool called the Census District Finder that will help in finding enumeration districts. Here is a short video by Amy Johnson Crow explaining how to use the Census District Finder on Ancestry and a link to a few more short videos about using the 1950 census.

One can also search the 1950 census for free on MyHeritage. Here is a helpful blog on My Heritage, “Jump-Start Your 1950 U.S. Census Research with the Census Helper.” You might also want to take a look at the United States Census Bureau.

In our Genealogy Division, as we’ve been searching for our ancestors, we discovered some fun comments in the “notes” section of the census pages that were written by the enumerators:

“A youngster grabbed the sheet from my lap and had torn it quite badly before it could be taken from her. The last name is spelled Buckanaber. I spelled it as it sounded to me and was incorrect.”

“I know these people. I have reported all information possible at this time as they are in Sarasota, Florida. They make the trip every winter.”

“In my opinion the price value given is about $2,000 to high.”

If you’re waiting with great anticipation for the release of the 1960 census, you’ll have to keep your excitement to a minimum until 2032. I’m pretty stoked about it myself because it will be the first census in which I appear. But for the time being, happy hunting in the 1950 census.

Please contact Indiana State Library librarians and staff. We’re here to help!

Indiana State Library
315 W. Ohio St.
Indianapolis, IN
317-232-3675

Genealogy Division     317-232-3689
Reference Division      317-232-3678
Indiana Division          317-232-3670

Or use Ask-A-Librarian 24/7.

This blog post was written by Alice Winslow, Genealogy Division librarian.

Understanding and accessing Indiana state censuses and other enumerations

Like many states, Indiana conducted state censuses in various years. However, locating and accessing these records can be difficult for researchers. Especially confusing is the varying ways in which the censuses were conducted over time, as this affected what information enumerators recorded as well as where the records came to be stored.

Indiana Territorial Census, 1807

According to John Newman, former State Archivist, many early state censuses were strict enumerations, where the number of people living in a township or county were tallied, but names and personal information was not recorded. Although some censuses in the early to mid-1800s in Indiana did ask for names, they enumerated only males over the age of 21. These records were usually filed with the county auditor in each county and were never collated at the state level.

So where else can we look for enumerated information on our Hoosier ancestors to fill in the gaps not covered by state censuses? There are several options, actually. While the availability of records varies by time period and by county, on the whole these are very useful resources for genealogists.

Enumerations of African Americans

Harrison County Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, ca. 1850

These enumerations cover the 1850s and 1860s and were created as part of an attempt to prevent free African Americans from moving to Indiana and to document those who already lived here. Although these efforts were eventually declared invalid by the Indiana Supreme Court, the records created provide a valuable resource for pre-Civil War African American research in Indiana.

School enumerations

School enumeration, Fulton County, 1896

School enumerations list all the children of school age in a school district, township or county. They were created so that school officials knew how many students they would potentially need to serve and also to help enforce truancy rules. Some school enumerations include just the head of household and the number of school-aged children, while others name each student along with their age and other information. These are particularly useful to genealogists who are researching children.

Enumerations of registered voters

Index to Registered Voters, Pike County, 1919-1920

These enumerations list the people who were registered to vote in a given township or county. The records were kept so that officials knew who was eligible to vote in elections. Since most of the publicly available voter rolls predate the 19th Amendment, they contain far more information on men than women.

Enumerations of soldiers, widows, orphans and/or pensioners

Card index to enrollments of soldiers, widows and orphans, Indiana State Library

Officials conducted these enumerations to determine how many veterans lived in Indiana in various years, as well as the widows and orphans of veterans who were receiving military pensions or benefits due to the service of their deceased husband or father. The largest enumerations took place in 1886, 1890 and 1894 and focused on Civil War veterans. The 1890 enumeration is particularly valuable since the 1890 federal census was lost in the aftermath of a fire.

Other enumerations
These are miscellaneous enumerations that were conducted for various reasons, some of which are no longer known. They often cover only a township or two and may be part of a larger enumeration where the bulk of the records were lost.

To see the Indiana State Library’s holdings for state censuses and other enumerations, please visit our Enumerations Research Guide here.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, Genealogy Division supervisor.

Redistricting data from the Census Bureau

The Indiana State Library’s Government Information Minute on Aug. 18 detailed the Census Bureau’s redistricting data release and gave the locations of several sources for the new data.

While it’s clear this data matters to demographers, local leaders and policy-makers, how does it apply to us as lifelong learners, the general public and the library community?

A first look at the data shows significant changes in the U.S. population taking place over the last ten years, from 2010 to 2020. While it is too early to tell the impact of COVID and new privacy methods on the national census, the new data says:

  1. The number of people who identify as Native American or Alaska Native – in combination with another race – rose more than any time in history between censuses. See 2020 Census Illuminates Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Country: “…the American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination population comprised 9.7 million people (2.9% of the total population) in 2020, up from 5.2 million (1.7%) in 2010.”
  2. The number of people who describe themselves as two or more races has increased more than any time in history, while the number of people who describe themselves as white has decreased. See 2020 Census Statistics Highlight Local Population Changes and Nation’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity: “The Multiracial population was measured at 9 million people in 2010 and is now 33.8 million people in 2020, a 276% increase.”

What makes these population changes so pertinent right now? The nature of diversity in the United States is expanding. Our identity as Americans, in a place where 331.4 million people made their homes in 2020, is reckoning with its past and looking toward its future. These new numbers inform the news we read, the fiction that entertains us, and the media we absorb. Recent events tell us the changing racial and ethnic makeup of the nation’s population affect each of us.

Use the 2020 Census Demographic Data Map Viewer to look for yourself. It allows you to see diversity in race, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity and age groups state by state. You can also read recently released publications and view the following data visualizations from the Census Bureau about population changes between 2010 and 2020.

Publications:
2020 Census: Racial and Ethnic Diversity Index by State
2020 Census Statistics Highlight Local Population Changes and Nation’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity
2020 United States Population More Racially Ethnically Diverse Than 2010
Improvements to the 2020 Census Race and Hispanic Origin Question Designs, Data Processing, and Coding Procedures
Measuring Racial and Ethnic Diversity for the 2020 Census
Race and Ethnicity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census

Data Visualizations:
Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census
U.S. Decennial Census Measurement of Race and Ethnicity Across the Decades: 1790–2020

In Indiana, according to the Census Bureau’s Diversity Index, there is a 41.3% chance that two people chosen at random in this state will be from a different racial and ethnic group from each other. While this is not as high on the Diversity Index as California, near the top at 69.7%, it is a much greater chance than in Maine, near the bottom at 18.5%. Hoosiers are in the middle of a shifting state of demography which varies county by county. See the Census Bureau’s map, Second-Most Prevalent Race or Ethnicity Group by County: 2020, from The Chance That Two People Chosen at Random Are of Different Race or Ethnicity Groups Has Increased Since 2010.

As states participate in the redistricting process, decisions matter at the local level. Indiana’s General Assembly website details Indiana’s redistricting process. Public meetings were held at cities across the state from Aug. 6-12 representing each of Indiana’s nine U.S. Congressional Districts. You can watch the meetings on the website. Members of the public can also draw their own maps to contribute to the process. Locations for this will be at 19 Ivy Tech campuses. Ivy Tech librarians will help people use special software. Video instruction will be available on the website as well. More details will follow on the website.

Indiana libraries participated fully in the U.S. census despite COVID disruptions. As the pandemic changed everyone’s plans, we changed our approach to census outreach. Librarians directed energy and knowledge toward census promotion from 2019 through a census year with a changing timeline. Our displays were up. We posted on social media instead of having live events to encourage response. We showed our communities how important it was to answer, and how much easier it was to complete online. When it was safe, we welcomed the public to use our computers to fill out the census. These sincere efforts during disquieted times are what make our libraries the best.

The changing face of diversity, as the story is told by the census, continues its thread through our libraries as well. Following in the steps of the corporate world, libraries are hiring diversity and inclusion officers and holding programs that challenge patrons to think seriously about current events. We all have a role to play in the future of our communities. What will yours be?

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

Discovering census history at the Indiana State Library

The 2020 census data for congressional apportionment – released every 10 years – is due to be released one month from now, on April 30. The Census Bureau will deliver official 2020 census counts to the president on this date so these numbers can be used to determine the number of representatives each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives. For the method used in determining these figures, see the Census Bureau’s Computing Apportionment. This year, the delivery date was extended due to COVID-19. You can find details about changes to the timeline on the Census Bureau’s website. Typically, congressional apportionment numbers are due to the president on Dec. 31, following the decennial census, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. A history of this process is available on the Proportional Representation webpage from the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 2020 Census is not the first census to be disrupted by national concerns. The Earth spins and the nation moves forward through time as the American people are counted every 10 years. Let’s take a trip back in time to the fourth U.S. census, in 1820, when census enumeration was planned to take place during the six-month period from August 1820 to February 1821. Back then, the nation was going through its first major economic depression following the Panic of 1819.

What was the Panic of 1819, you ask? Good question! Last week was the first time I’d heard of it, and it’s not until recently that current scholarship has caught up with history. I decided to start my research using our free online newspaper databases and by searching for journal articles using INSPIRE, the Indiana State Library’s free database resource.

Here is what I discovered:

Late last year, Scott Reynolds Nelson wrote in his Journal of the Early Republic article, “The Many Panics of 1819,” that the causes were several:

Fundamentally, a trade war between the United States and Great Britain triggered the crisis, and that trade war over the Caribbean produced many panics – in the New England shipbuilding industry, in the southern provisioning trade, in the plantations of the British Caribbean where enslavers increasingly faced a hungry workforce.

…Though the land office failures were important. The Land Office was effectively a mortgage bank, the biggest in the world. On the significance of the land office in the American South, see Daniel S. Dupre, Transforming the Cotton Frontier: Madison County, Alabama, 1800–1840 (Baton Rouge, LA, 1997). Farmers borrowed on a four-year mortgage from the land office, a competitor to the Bank of the United States created by Jefferson’s Democratic Party. The rapid drop in provision prices led farmers to fail and abandon their mortgages and lands.

Additionally, Jessica M. Lepler explained the nationwide effect last year in her article, “The Panic of 1819 by Any Other Name:”

…North and South, East and West, urban and rural, young and old, male and female, bound and free, the hard times were national. This was no single-year crisis; the Panic of 1819 lasted about a decade.

These two authors were part of a 2019 panel discussing the subject.

Historical evidence can be collected here at the State Library through primary and secondary sources. Newspaper articles, history books and other ephemera explain how the 1820 census was affected by the economic state of the nation at the time. The 1820 census itself was extended by an extra seven months, until September of 1821. At the time, the United States would have been in recovery from fallout due to its first major economic crisis.

James Monroe was president on Census Day, Aug. 7, 1820. Courtesy of the United States Census Bureau.

Two centuries apart, the 1820 Census and the 2020 Census, and in both cases the process of the census was affected by major events impacting U.S. society.

As the pandemic draws closer to a solution and more people become vaccinated, we’ll see more books and articles written that compare our recent experiences to past events. The State Library has many resources that can help us delve into census history, both published and unpublished.

Visit our library to do research in the State Data Center Collection by calling us at 317-232-3732 to make an appointment. You can also use online resources like INSPIRE and the Census Bureau’s elaborate history website. Call or email the State Data Center for assistance. We are here to help you discover census history!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

‘Return to the Future: Your 2020 Census’

It seems like years have passed since we starting preparing for the 2020 census at libraries across the state! Since then, the nation has experienced many ups and downs. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 census has continued to make headlines. In March, the Census Bureau had delayed field operations for the census until a new schedule was finalized. Data collection for the 2020 census is final on Sept.30, so now is the time to encourage the public to complete it if they haven’t already done so. Patrons can go online, call 844-330-2020 or mail back the form they received in the mail in order to complete the census. For patrons who speak languages other than English, see the responding by phone section on the census page. Census workers are now going door-to-door across the nation, making phone calls and sending email to those who haven’t responded. The goal is to get every single person counted by the deadline.

Because libraries have not been open, we’ve experienced a gap in our ability to promote the 2020 census. As we return to serving the public, libraries that are open by appointment can welcome patrons to answer the census at their library. Libraries not yet open can still create displays, offer handouts during curbside service and hang signs to encourage patrons to answer the 2020 census now. Libraries remain an essential part of the effort to notify the public that there is only one month left to finish this momentous task! We still have at least 20% of Hoosiers to count in September. Hoosiers depend on this once-in-a-decade count to shape the future of our legislative representation, public services and fiscal planning for all Indiana neighborhoods. The people won’t be counted one-by-one again until 2030.

For the past two years, 2020 census supporters have used creative strategies for reminding the public to answer the census. In Circle Pines, Minnesota, a city councilman dressed up as Census Man to bring attention to the importance of the 2020 census for apportionment. Not to be topped, the Chicago mayor announced last month that the Census Cowboy would arrive on horseback to help out in neighborhoods with low counts. It’s here that people will most need the public services funded using census counts. Here in Indiana, people can use our Race for a Complete Count graphics to view the progress of different areas of the state. If response rates aren’t measuring up in your part of Indiana, it’s not too late to make a difference. Our goal is to remind people as much as possible during this last month. Our Census in Indiana website is full of ideas and resources.

The new 2020 census deadline, while extended due to COVID-19, is still very tight. We need to amplify our message even louder for communities with low counts. We’ll share additional tools and tips on Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. in our webinar, “Return to the Future: Your 2020 Census.” Register for the webinar here. You can help census response in your community by requesting a partnership specialist from the Census Bureau to set up a mobile questionnaire assistance event. Census workers will set up socially-distanced tables for online response to the census on site. Contact the Indiana State Data Center for details.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

2020 census operations continue; self-response deadline extended

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic created delays in the Census Bureau’s 2020 census operations, the 2020 census continues to move forward. Because of the pause due to the pandemic, it is important for librarians to get the word out that it’s not too late to participate in the census. U.S. residents now have until Oct. 31 to use self-response methods to complete the forms for their households.Beginning on Aug. 11, the Census Bureau plans to send out workers for the non-response follow-up part of census operations. Census workers will be clearly identified as they go door-to-door to visit homes. They will operate through Oct. 31 to help residents complete questionnaires until every household is counted.

This means July is a key month to remind library patrons to count their own households before a census worker comes to their door. Librarians can instruct patrons to follow the steps below in order to help them complete the census:

  • Go to the Census Bureau’s online portal and enter the Census ID they received in the mail. If they don’t have a Census ID, click the button that says Start Questionnaire, then click the link that says “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” and follow the prompts.

OR

  • Call the Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 for English, or at 844-468-2020 for Spanish. For deaf assistance and languages other than English, see responding by phone.

OR

  • Fill out the 2020 Census form they received in the mail and mail it back.

It’s that easy, and it should only take 10 minutes!

It is important to continue providing information about the 2020 census to ensure a complete and accurate count of our communities. This once-per-decade count will determine political representation, federal and state funding and planning decisions for the next 10 years. Find outreach materials on the Census Bureau’s website and Indiana’s 2020 Census website.

Library patrons might also be interested in 2020 census jobs being offered by the Census Bureau. Patrons can apply for jobs here.

The State Data Center at the Indiana State Library is here to help you with questions and further outreach through Oct. 31. Contact us here.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

2020 Census outreach

The U.S. Census Bureau held a kick-off for the 2020 Census ad campaign Tuesday, Jan. 14. For each decennial census, the Census Bureau hires an agency to conduct research and distribute messaging to encourage participation in the U.S. Census. The 2020 campaign, according to a Jan. 14 press release, “employs multi-language ads, partnerships and trusted voices.” The Census Bureau’s tagline, revealed in 2019 is “Shape your Future. Start here.” Examples of the new ads are available here. Census partners are encouraged to have local organizations use the national campaign materials in news media, social media and other outlets.

Efforts to publicize the census have been underway in Indiana for the past several years. The Philanthropy Alliance of Indiana made it a priority to connect its members with census resources early on in the state’s efforts. The Indiana State Library’s State Data Center has worked closely with the Indiana Business Research Center and the Indiana Department of Administration to coordinate efforts at the state level. The IBRC maintains the Census in Indiana website, a “for Hoosiers by Hoosiers” resource for digital and print materials promoting the 2020 census.

New on the site is a Promotional Tool Kit section which includes images and widgets for your websites. For librarians, there is a 2020 Census Toolkit containing important dates in the census, talking points and FAQs for Indiana libraries, an online resource list and ideas for displays and programs. The Census Bureau’s Facebook and Twitter pages contain daily updates about 2020 Census promotion. The State Data Center’s Facebook and Twitter pages post national, state and local updates about the 2020 census.

In mid-March, most U.S. households will receive an invitation to fill out the census online. A series of mailings will follow until each household completes the census online, by paper form or via telephone.

Please contact the library’s State Data Center for questions about the 2020 Census.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch to chair Indiana 2020 Census Complete Count Committee

Here at the Indiana State Library, our Indiana State Data Center Program has had an official partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau since 1978. We share statistical information and talk about the importance of access to good public data on a daily basis. Each decade, however, our efforts with the Census Bureau ramp up and we help “count everyone once, only once, in the right place” as of Census Day, April 1. The State of Indiana includes multiple stakeholders who take part in this effort.

On Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced that Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch will lead Indiana’s statewide Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. The goal of the committee is to encourage all Hoosiers to answer the census. Indiana’s CCC kick-off meeting will be Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern in the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium. You are invited. Register for the meeting here

The 2020 Census will be the very first census that provides online response. People can answer via their smartphones, use their home computers and laptops or go to their local library and use a public computer terminal. Because of this, libraries will see increased traffic next year during March and April. Indiana librarians will receive questions about what the census does and why the Census Bureau counts people. We will need to provide help with how it’s done.

This May, the American Library Association released its Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census. It explains the importance of the 2020 Census and also addresses the risks that we face if groups of people are undercounted in 2020. This is the reason that CCCs and promotional campaigns carry weight. Our efforts will impact the accuracy and completeness of next year’s count. Libraries are trusted voices, and librarians can make efforts to prepare ourselves to inform our communities.

Start learning about the census with Census Bureau’s Shape Your Future. Start Here website. Get details about promoting the census locally on the 2020 Census in Indiana website. Register and attend the CCC kick-off on Monday, Aug. 19 to learn more!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

Libraries and the 2020 census

In December of last year, Kathy Kozenski from the Geography Educators’ Network of Indiana and I brought a giant 15′ x 21′ Indiana floor map1 to the Vigo County Public Library for a program called “Get On The Map!” Library patrons, ages 3 to 15, joined us in learning about state geography as we walked in socked feet across cities, lakes, rivers and forests.

Photo courtesy of Lauri Chandler, Youth Services Manager at the Vigo County Public Library.

We discussed the cardinal directions and talked with the students about where they had lived and traveled, and where they would like to go in the future. Despite their young ages, many had already been outside of the state and even outside of the country. We asked students to identify and locate map features. Lake Michigan, one of the map’s prominent features, was a favorite.

We asked what we might find in Indiana cities or towns. Answers were:

“Buildings!”
“Roads!”
“Trees!”
“Pets!”
“Cars!”

Part of my reason for this question was to introduce the idea of the census, so we asked what else a city or town needed in order to have all of these things.

“People!,” they answered.

This provided us with a chance to discuss how many people live in different areas, and that when there are more people we need more resources. We talked about the upcoming 2020 census, why we count people and why it is important to get an accurate count so that resources can be distributed where they are needed.

We followed our map exploration with the storied adventures of Fred the Fish. Made of a small piece of muslin, Fred swam in a river – a plastic container of water – next to several different sources of pollution. We poured in small amounts of dirt, oil and trash. We demonstrated the effects of these things on Fred, and talked about how important it is to notice the effects of human population on the surrounding environment.

With the 2020 Census approaching, librarians are on the forefront of community outreach, as our jobs will involve helping patrons report data to the federal government. This will be the first U.S. census in history to provide the opportunity for online response, and we expect to welcome our patrons to answer the census at our public computers.

In October of 2018, the American Library Association issued a policy brief entitled Libraries and the 2020 Census Vital Partners for a Complete Count that explains how libraries act as “trusted partners in achieving a complete count in the 2020 census” by:

  • Delivering information about the census and hosting community outreach activities
  • Providing internet access to enable respondents to complete the census form online
  • Serving as trusted messengers, including in hard-to-count communities
  • Training data users and providing access to census statistics for businesses and community members.

ALA recently hosted a free webinar, “Libraries and the 2020 Census” through its Chapter Advocacy Exchange. You can view the webinar here. The ALA president, assistant director of government relations and deputy director of public policy addressed the important role libraries play in ensuring a complete and accurate count of people. It featured librarians planning 2020 census outreach in Montana, California and Illinois.

In Indiana, there are several ways we can participate in planning for the 2020 census, which will take place a year from now, in March and April of 2020. Local communities are building Complete Count Committees, also known as CCCs, to encourage participation. At your library, you can help by hosting outreach efforts from the Census Bureau, promoting census jobs as they are available and incorporating census information in newsletters, social media and websites. Last week, the Census Bureau released its 2020 promotional guidelines. You can retrieve the PDF here.

For more information about the 2020 census in Indiana and how you can help, visit the Census in Indiana website. Follow the State Data Center on Facebook and Twitter for census messages and contact us at the Indiana State Library with questions.

1. GENI loans out giant traveling floor maps of Indiana to libraries and schools along with curriculum guides and a trunk full of learning tools.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference & Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.