Sno-Isle Libraries can help you engage in important civic life

    Between the census and the upcoming election, 2020 is an important year for civic life in the United States.  

    Sno-Isle Libraries is here to help, and a library card is a good place to start. 

    Graphic image of Vote 2020 and Census 2020The Sno-Isle Libraries Online Access Card brings immediate, free access to all digital materials and online services available through Sno-Isle Libraries, including eBooks, e-Audiobooks and other digital media, streaming movies and music, plus library databases and learning services.  

    “With a library card, you can access local newspapers including the Everett Herald and Seattle Times for no cost,” said Anne Murphy, Service Coordinator of Programming for Sno-Isle Libraries. 

    Keeping informed is important when it comes to elections. Every vote matters, but it can be difficult to consider the competing claims candidates make in highly contested races. Library staff can point prospective voters to reliable information. 

    People often feel their vote doesn’t matter, but it can be the deciding factor in local races. Some are decided by just a handful of votes,” Murphy said. “The library can help you learn about the issues or candidates by finding reliable resources. You can call any community library or send us your question through our Ask a Librarian services. The amount of information can seem overwhelming, and library staff are happy to wade through it to find the best sources.” 

    Washington is one of several states that votes entirely by mail. County auditors will mail ballots to all registered voters in the state in early October and ballots can be returned any time before Nov. 3. 

    Sno-Isle Libraries librarians can help with voter registrationand explain how to return ballots by postage-paid mail or to an official ballot drop box. For the upcoming election, ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 or placed in a drop box by 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in order to be counted. 

    Speaking of counts, about seven of every 10 residents in the Sno-Isle Libraries service area have responded to Census 2020The census is the Constitutionally required count of every person living in the United States that is conducted every 10 years.  

    Washington is currently third in the nation with a 70.9 percent response rate. Snohomish County has a 74.4 percent response rate and Island County has a 68.6 percent response rate. Brier’s 88.1 percent response rate makes it the No. 1 community in the state. 

    The high response rates in our counties and communities show that folks take this seriously – and we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be counted,” Murphy said. 

    For those who haven’t completed Census 2020, it’s important to make sure you and everyone in your household gets counted. Sno-Isle Libraries customers can get census help through the Ask a Librarian services. 

    Census data is used to make decisions about federal appropriations that communities rely upon for services and programs, including grants to states under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). State, county and city governments and other public agencies and service providers also use census data for planning and research purposes. 

    The deadline for completing the census is Sept. 30. 

    It’s not too late to complete the census online, by mail, or on the phone,” Murphy said. “Our librarians are ready to help customers who need help.”