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Local libraries seek funding for census help

Many may be aware of the 2020 census and that it will be the first to be conducted primarily online.

But already there is growing concern about the accuracy of those population counts in New York, particularly of people from rural and poor communities and city neighborhoods, without statewide funding to help libraries provide online services to New Yorkers without home internet service.

The stakes are high, said Pioneer Library System Executive Director Lauren Moore, who also is chairwoman of the New York Library Association’s Census 2020 Task Force.

“There’s a lot on the line,” Moore said. “I don’t think we can stand to ignore it.”

Here’s why the Library Association is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allocate funding.

The state is “woefully unprepared” for the online census, said Mike Neppl, who is general counsel and director of government relations for the Library Association.

Earlier this year, Cuomo and other legislative leaders created a commission to avoid making the same mistakes made during the 2010 census count — the undercounting of New Yorkers cost the state billions of dollars in funding for education, health care and infrastructure, according to information provided by the Library Association.

And the fear is it could happen again.

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