Soon every household in America should get a card inviting them to participate in the decennial census. The results of the census are used to determine representation in Congress, the disposition of federal monies, and many other things. Therefore it is important that everyone be counted (see this handout from the Town of Mamaroneck for further details). By law, the responses can only be viewed by the Census Bureau.
What is the significance of April 1? The census wants to count every person living in the United States as of April 1. So, while you can respond at any time, the criteria is “where do you live most of the time as of April 1?”
Unlike the 23 previous 10-year censuses, this one will be conducted primarily online. It can be completed by phone as well. Online forms and telephone responses can be done in 13 languages (including English). Census workers will make personal visits to nonresponsive locations.
Since libraries are a particularly vital resource for people without computers and/or computer skills, we anticipate being involved in this census as never before. In fact, we’ve been preparing since last year.
- Every staff member, full and part-time, has attended at least one informational session presented by the Census Bureau.
- The Westchester Library System has assured us that we will receive a secure census “kiosk” prior to the first postcard mailing from the Census Bureau. It will be located on the table near the travel books in the Reading Room.
- We have requested an additional census kiosk along with a secure portable network connection and hope to make this kiosk available to organizations in our community who request it.
- Reference staff is prepared to help those who need assistance completing the form, but be aware the Census Bureau has told us we cannot enter information for patrons. This is to protect people’s privacy. Census employees take an oath not to reveal census information and are subject to criminal penalties for violating that oath. The Library’s reference staff is dedicated, but are not Census employees.
- If you are interested in volunteering to help, go to Volunteer New York and search for Larchmont.
- Head of Reference Liam Hegarty is coordinating our efforts. Feel free to contact him at 834-2281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.