Monday, August 15, 2022

Williamsburg Regional Library announces new initiative for community census participation

WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

The Williamsburg Regional Library is stepping up to assist with the 2020 census with a new Mobile Census Van program.

The national census takes place every 10 years as a way to get a count of every person living in the United States. However, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that Williamsburg was an under-counted area in 2010 which is a problem because the census determines how much state and federal funding localities receive. That funding can contribute to things such as roads, housing, and education.

Residents started receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census in March, which asks them to identify where they live as of April 1, 2020.

So the Williamsburg Regional Library wants to make sure residents are actually filling out their census forms and have the information they need.

“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 Betsy Fowler, library director

Fowler is also the chairwoman of Williamsburg’s Complete Count Committee, an organization with the goal of maximizing local census participation.

The Williamsburg Regional Library will be sending vans to various neighborhoods, apartment complexes and parks around Williamsburg and James City County this month to bring census help to those who have not filled out their form yet. Vans will be manned by the Mobile Library Services team and representatives from the Census Bureau.

Because census responses can now be submitted online, the library’s Mobile Census Van will be bringing computers and WiFi hotspots to each location. Library staff will also be available to help those who want to submit their census form through the mail or phone.

“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,” Fowler said. “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 Mobile Census Van will be at the following locations:

Aug. 19

  • Colonial Towne Apartments, 4-6 p.m.

Aug. 20

  • Pocahontas Square 1-2 p.m.
  • Skiffes Creek, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Abram Frink Jr. Community Center, 4-6 p.m.

Aug. 21

  • Grove Christian Outreach Center, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Mimosa Drive, 4:30-6 p.m.

Aug. 22

  • Merrimac Crossing Apartments, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Shellis Square Townhomes, 2-4 p.m.

Aug. 24

  • Quaterpath Place Apartments, 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Pocahontas Street, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Aug. 25

  • Windy Hill, Jan Rae Circle Playground, 1-1:45 p.m.
  • Heritage, 8810 Pocahontas Trail, 2-2:45 p.m.
  • County Village, 10 Gray Gables Drive, 3-3:45 p.m.

Aug. 26

  • Ironbound Village, 4-5 p.m.

Aug. 27

  • Highland Park, 703 North Henry St., 1-3 p.m.

Aug. 28

  • The Hamlet, 4-6 p.m.

Aug. 29

  • Chisel Run, noon to 2 p.m.
  • Ironbound Square Park, 150 Magazine Road, 2:30-4 p.m.

Representatives from James City County Parks and Recreation will be at the Abram Frink Jr. Community Center stop to provide information about discounted rates at the JCC Recreation Center.

Representatives from JCC’s Voter Registration office will also be providing voter registration and vote-by-mail application forms at all stops.

The Mobile Census Vans will also come with free ice pops, activity bags, buttons, children’s counting books and other surprises to help engage children in the community census efforts.

If residents can’t make it to one of the Mobile Census stops, they can use the library’s free online chat service for help.

For more information, visit the Williamsburg Regional Library online.

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Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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