The 2020 Census is here
The decennial census determines New York's fair share of more than $650 billion of federal funds every year for critical programs and services, including public education, public housing, roads and bridges, social services, and much more. It also determines the number of representatives we have fighting for us in Congress.
How to Respond
Brooklyn Self-Response Rates
Only 50.2% of Brooklyn (Kings County) households have responded to the 2020 Census, compared to the national average of 61.9% (as of July 5, 2020). Visit CUNY's Hard to Count map for up-to-date information. In 2010, only 57% of Brooklyn households self-responded to the Census, making it one of the hardest-to-count counties in the nation.
The Library's Plan
New York's public libraries are critical partners in the 2020 Census effforts, receiving more than $1.4 million in City dollars to connect with key at-risk demographics. Along with our partners, Brooklyn Public Library is working to ensure every Brooklyn resident, regardless of age, race or immigration status, is fairly and accurately counted in Census 2020.
- All BPL service staff have been trained to direct the public to resources to complete their census forms.
- Patrons can complete their census form online using designated public computers at a BPL branch. Those without a library card can print a free guest pass to access a computer.
- To serve those who speak a language other than English, all staff are connected to language access tools, such as Language Line and Travis, a handheld translation device.
- A team of BPL Census Navigators will provide additional customer service.
- Navigators are bilingual and have access to translation devices which allow for real-time conversations in dozens of languages.
- Responses to the 2020 Census are protected by law. The U.S. Census Bureau oversees data security of the online form. Census form data will be encrypted while at rest and in transit (after census responses are sent).
- No personal data will be stored on any Library devices. In coordination with NYC Cybersecurity experts, all Library devices will have the latest browser software, anti-virus software and firewall solutions to protect against malicious software and spyware.
- Library staff are trained to handle questions about census scams, patron privacy, digital safety and data protection.
- BPL will join partners NYPL and Queens Public Library in a Census awareness and outreach campaign, including messaging on our website, social media, on public computers and digital self-check kiosks.
- Census messaging will be incorporated in key library programs, such as storytimes, English conversation groups, older adult programming, computer classes, and more. Family storytime programs will have a census and "counting" themes. Adult Literacy programs and classes will include a 2020 Census lesson and time to complete the census form.
- Census Navigators will host regular census "Office Hours" programming.
- The Library will partner with local organizations to host 2020 Census community forums designed to teach key hard-to-count communities.
- BPL will build awareness about the census in a variety of languages, tailored to neighborhood demographics.
- Tools like Language Line and the handheld Travis translation device will allow staff to provide customer service in over 150 languages.
- Library technology will allow patrons to input their answers to the online questionnaire in dozens of languages, and accessibly features will make online response possible for all patrons.
- The Library is leveraging partnerships with community groups in Brooklyn and citywide to reach crucial hard-to-count demographics.
- Learn more about how to partner with NYC Libraries.