Williamsburg Regional Library Brings Census Help to Local Neighborhoods
The 2020 census is still underway, and Williamsburg Regional Library is helping with the ongoing efforts to get a complete local count by sending a Mobile Census Van out to several community hubs later this month. The van, which is staffed by WRL’s Mobile Library Services team, will be visiting neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and parks around Williamsburg and James City County during the last two weeks of August to bring census help to residents who may not have filled out their form yet.
Representatives from the Census Bureau will be joining WRL staff at each stop to provide additional help and information. The national census, which takes place every ten years, aims to get an accurate count of every person currently living in the United States. In mid-March, homes across the country began receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census, which asks them to identify where they live as of April 1, 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the Williamsburg area was under-counted in 2010. The census count determines how much state and federal funding localities receive for infrastructure like roads, housing, and education, which means it is in the community’s best interest to have as complete a count as possible. “We want to make sure everyone has the tools and the information they need to fill out the census, because each individual response directly benefits the entire community,” said library director Betsy Fowler.
Fowler also chairs Williamsburg’s Complete Count Committee, an organization made up of government officials and community leaders with the goal of maximizing local census participation. Census responses can now be submitted online, so WRL’s Mobile Census Van will be bringing computers and WiFi hotspots to each stop so that people have an opportunity to complete their census form right then and there. Library staff will also be available to answer questions or provide instructions for those who prefer to submit their census form through the mail or over the phone.
In addition to these practical tips and tools, the Mobile Census Van will also come stocked with free ice pops, activity bags, buttons, children’s counting books, and other surprises to help engage the youngest members of our community in the census efforts.
“We know that children are historically one of the most undercounted demographics in the census, so we want to make it as easy as possible for families to get this done,” said Fowler. “This is a great opportunity for mom or dad to get some confidential help with filling out their questionnaire while the kids get to enjoy a fun treat.” The complete list of WRL Mobile Census Van stops is as follows:
- August 19- Colonial Towne Apartments, 4-6 p.m.
- August 20- Pocahontas Square, 1-2 p.m.
- August 20- Skiffes Creek, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
- August 20- Abram Frink Jr. Community Center, 4-6 p.m.
- August 21- Grove Christian Outreach Center, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
- August 21- Mimosa Drive, 4:30-6 p.m. (at the end of the road)
- August 22- Merrimac Crossing Apartments, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
- August 22- Shellis Square Townhomes, 2-4 p.m.
- August 24- Quarterpath Place Apartments, 10-11:30 a.m.
- August 24- Pocahontas Street, 12-1:30 p.m. (Pocahontas St./York St.)
- August 25- Windy Hill, 1-1:45 p.m. (Jan Rae Circle Playground)
- August 25- Heritage, 2-2:45 p.m. (8810 Pocahontas Tr.)
- August 25- County Village, 3-3:45 p.m. (10 Gray Gables Dr.)
- August 26- Ironbound Village, 4-5 p.m.
- August 27- Highland Park, 1-3 p.m. (703 North Henry St.)
- August 28- The Hamlet, 4-6 p.m. (King Henry/Canterbury Place)
- August 29- Chisel Run, 12-2 p.m. (Chisel Run Rd./Aden Ct.)
- August 29- Ironbound Square Park, 2:30-4 p.m. (150 Magazine Rd.)
Additionally, representatives from James City County’s Parks & Rec office will be at the Abram Frink Jr. Community Center stop to provide information about joining the JCC Recreation Center at a discounted rate, and James City County’s Voter Registration office is providing voter registration and vote-by-mail application forms to be distributed at all stops. Residents in need of census help who can’t make it out to any of the MLS stops can use the library’s free online chat service at www.wrl.org/ask (answered live Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.).