For immediate release | March 12, 2020

America’s libraries report for duty as 2020 Census opens

CHICAGO - Today, millions of U.S. households will begin receiving letters inviting them to respond to the 2020 census. The American Library Association issued the following statement by ALA President Wanda Brown:

"For the first time in history, U.S. residents have the opportunity to respond online. Many people will have questions, and they’ll turn to their libraries as one of the most trusted resources. I am proud to say that America’s libraries are ready to report for duty.

"It’s impossible to overstate what’s at stake with the 2020 census. If the census isn’t accurate, our communities will lose out on trillions of dollars for schools, roads, healthcare and libraries for the next decade. If there’s a miscount, people could also lose political representation at the city, state and local level.

"America’s libraries are also near and dear to people who, historically, have been disproportionately undercounted in the census: young children, college students, homeless people, cultural and linguistic minorities, racial and ethnic minorities, and more. Here again, communities can count on libraries: 99 percent of people that the Census Bureau considers hard-to-count live within five miles of a library. People who are overlooked everywhere else are seen and served at the library.

"This year, libraries will take on the added role of connecting people who otherwise lack reliable and secure internet access. That is about 25 percent of households in America. Fortunately, 100 percent of libraries across the country have computers, internet, and knowledgeable staff to ensure everyone has someone to turn to with questions.

"The 2020 census is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to demonstrate the value of libraries in both being a resource and ensuring resources for our communities, and we are ready."

For more information on ALA’s efforts to support a fair, inclusive and complete count in the 2020 census, including resources for libraries, visit To connect on social media, follow #CountOnLibraries, #2020Census.


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy Office