Stand up and be counted

It’s Census Day on April 1st. Have you sent your form in yet?

Libraries and librarians  use census data in two ways, and in both we cases we are using it to better serve you, our community.

This is an image of the 1880 Census taken in Corvallis. It’s incredibly valuable data for all sorts of people, including local history researchers and genealogists, of whom we see a lot at the public library. You can access census data like this yourself from home, by logging into HeritageQuest, which the library subscribes to. You can also access census information through the library’s subscription to, which you can use in the library.

Librarians help people access contemporary information about our community by using statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. For example, you can get all sorts of detailed information about Benton Co. through American FactFinder. Here’s a screen shot about the education levels in our community:

Libraries don’t just help provide access to valuable census data to researches. We also use it ourselves when making decisions about our services. When I asked the library management about how they use census data to do their jobs, I heard back from our library director, Carolyn Rawles-Heiser. She said that the library benefits from census data in two ways.

One is that we use population and demographic information to determine what services we provide where, and for whom. It gets used most often when planning future library services.

Census data also affects the library financially. We use census data to apply for grants, and some of the funding we receive is based on population numbers. For example, funding for the Ready to Read program is allotted partly based on population data, collected by the census.

So get that form turned in! Doing so means that the library is able to serve you more effectively, along with many other public agencies.

Posted by Lisa, a second floor librarian

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