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Roswell library receives national grant for census

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The Roswell Public Library has been named one of 59 libraries nationwide to receive a $2,000 Library Census Equity Fund grant from the American Library Association, which awarded the grants to bolster library services to hard-to-count communities and help achieve a complete count in the 2020 census.

“The Roswell Public Library is grateful for this grant, as it allows us to collaborate with other local agencies such as the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Roswell Independent Schools, Chaves County JOY Centers and the Dexter Town Library to provide assistance to the public with filling out their census information,” said Enid Costley, Roswell Public Library director. “Being given the opportunity to work with other organizations also ensures that we will have a more accurate count of our community.”

The Roswell Public Library has a dedicated computer for the public to use to complete the census, and 24 public internet computers, which may also be used to submit the census form online. The Roswell Independent School District (RISD) has compiled a list of reasons for completing the 10-question census form and among them are that the results of the census will bring funds into the community that directly support healthcare, emergency services and the quality of local education systems.

Traditionally, children, especially young children, in New Mexico are undercounted. The Library Census Equity Fund Grant focuses on encouraging families to complete the census form. With the assistance this grant is providing, RISD and the Complete Count Census Committee will distribute 3,000 promotional coloring books. The coloring books include a list of places in Roswell and Chaves County where anyone may go to receive help in completing the census form.

“The efforts of the Roswell Public Library,” 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.”

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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 10 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.

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.

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