The Princeton Public Library has released a statement on the Census during this time of Coronavirus.
“The Coronavirus can not overshadow the importance of the Census. We should all adhere to the requirements provided by the government and health professionals, but that does not prevent you from fulﬁlling your obligation to your community. There is not a conﬂict. The library was planning on oﬀering dedicated computer access and assistance. Other local agencies planned ways to get the message out, but ﬂashy signs and giveaways should not be necessary. People should want to be counted rather than persuaded.
Everyone has a phone, whether it be a landline or a cell phone. Make the call (1-800-354-7271) and complete on the phone. If you want to ﬁll it out online, bring your cell phone to the library parking lot, our wi-ﬁ is free and accessible. There is no need to be around people to ﬁll out the survey, you can do it and still follow the Coronavirus safety guidelines. If you need help ﬁlling it out you can call (1-800-330-2020).
It would have been nice to be able to interact with the community and discuss how the census impacts so many of the needs we tend to take for granted. The results of the 2020 Census will be used to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services, in addition to transportation and emergency readiness needs. We would have liked to address community concerns, such as letting people know that the information provided to the census bureau is private. Census information is not shared with other governmental agencies.
As a result of working to prevent the spread of the virus, we have been unable to utilize our usual methods of sharing information. For those of us working in an area where we are directly or indirectly eﬀected by the census count for funding, we are going to have to be more ﬂexible in how we get this information to the public. The library is using our social media and web site to convey the importance of being counted, and encouraging everyone to regularly check out our facebook and web site.
This is too important to let fall oﬀ the radar. The amount lost to the community for each person who fails to complete the census is $1,800, and as our board president Carolyn Schafer pointed out at a recent Voices From the Prairie event “This is a 10 year span before the next census. That is $18,000 per person between this census and the 2030 census. For 10 people that aren’t counted that is $180,000, for 20 people that is $360,000.”
The Coronavirus has thrown everyone’s life in a tailspin and we are adapting to changes everyday, but everyone can set aside 10 minutes to contribute $18,000, or $180 per minute to answer 10 questions. We haven’t given up on achieving the most accurate count of Princeton possible for this year’s census. The library will get this message out any way can because the community depends too much on these funds to be underrepresented for the next 10 years. If someone does not have the means to complete the census, call me at the library and I will work with you to ﬁgure something
out. This pandemic is not going prevent Princeton from getting the representation and funding we deserve.”