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MJPL receives ALA grant to help improve census results

Staff Writer
Nebraska City News-Press

Morton-James Public Library (MJPL) has been named one of 59 libraries nationwide to receive a $2,000 Library Census Equity Fund grant from the American Library Association (ALA), which awarded the grants to bolster library services to hard-to-count communities and help achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census.
Donna S. Kruse, MJPL Director said “We are very pleased to be the only site in Nebraska to receive this grant to help expand our plans for promoting census participation in our community. I think many would be surprised to find out the positive impact a good census count can have, especially at a local level.”
Nebraska City proper, is part of two census tracts, the  geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census.
Based on 2010 Census data, one of Nebraska City’s census tracts had a Low Response Score (LRS) over 20 percent, indicating that more than 20 percent of the local population residing in the tract did not respond to the census.
The U.S. Census Bureau is targeting this tract and others across the country that had an LRS over 20 percent by allocating more resources to promote participation in 2020.
A key resource for our community is Clarissa Suárez-Russell, Partnership Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Suárez-Russell has been assigned to Nebraska City to help increase the local census response rate.
The Library is partnering with Ms. Suárez-Russell to help educate community members on the importance of answering the 10 questions that comprise the 2020 Census questionnaire.
This coordinated effort will enable the MJPL to be a “Questionnaire Assistance” (QA) site, an initiative for the 2020 Census that allows the public to get assistance in completing the questionnaire.
Additionally, Denise Davis from the MJPL and Suárez-Russell are scheduling outreach events with U.S. Census displays and resources.
“The efforts of Morton-James Public,” said ALA President Wanda Brown, “will shine a light on all the library workers across the country who are shouldering efforts to reach and inform their communities—especially vulnerable and hard-to-count populations—about the importance of a full and inclusive count.”
The results of the 2020 Census will affect communities across the country.
More than $1.5 trillion in federal funds are allocated each year to state and local governments based on Census data.
When residents are missed in the Census, their communities miss out on needed funding for services such as libraries, schools, healthcare, and transportation.
The U.S. Constitution requires a census of all residents every ten years.
In the 2020 Census, residents will have the choice to respond online, by phone, or by mail.
The U.S. Census Bureau will send mailings to households prior to Census Day, which is April 1, 2020.
To help achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census, America’s libraries are informing their communities and providing access to the online response option.
To learn more, visit ala.org/census and follow the conversation on social media with #CountOnLibraries.
 The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services.
For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all.
For more information, visit ala.org.