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GEPL Receives Grant Funding for Census Outreach and Education

Posted: January 20, 2020

By: GEPL Staff

The Glen Ellyn Public Library has been awarded $10,000 for outreach and education efforts related to the 2020 U.S. Census on April 1, made possible by funding in whole or in part by the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) through a grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).

During April and May, the library will conduct 10 census programs at various locations in Glen Ellyn. These initiatives will focus primarily on increasing the self-response rate of historically Hard-to-Count (HTC) populations, such as children under age five, non-English speakers, those without internet access, older adults, 18-24 year olds, those at or below poverty level, and the homeless.

“A real or perceived barrier exists to full and representative inclusion in the data collection process” for HTC populations, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Such groups may be hard to locate, hard to contact, hard to persuade, hard to interview, or pose a challenge in all four steps of the enumeration process.

To overcome this hurdle, “Our programming will take us out to locations where these individuals already feel comfortable and frequently gather, like schools and houses of worship,” said library director Dawn Bussey. “We plan to bring professional translators, iPads, hotspots, and snacks to engage attendees while communicating the importance of completing the census, answering questions and helping individuals fill out their forms.”

The Glen Ellyn Public Library will also provide four computers specifically designated for visitors to use to complete their census questionnaires in the building beginning March 15. Library staff and volunteers from the League of Women Voters will be on hand to address concerns and assist as needed.

Ensuring an accurate census count is extremely important for the United States and for the state of Illinois in particular. Results will determine each community’s political representation and share of federal funding throughout the next decade.

More than $675 billion will be distributed to support state and county schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and other vital programs. Census results also help determine funding for libraries and library systems.

Residents can expect to receive a census postcard with details in mid to late March. Learn more about the questionnaire, how data will be used, and how to help advocate for a complete and accurate count by visiting census.gov.