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Census important for those with vision loss

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      The 2010 U.S. Census begins this week. Every household in the nation will receive a Census Questionnaire, and it is important that this form is filled out completely for many reasons.

      The U.S. Constitution decrees that every 10 years there must be a head count of every person in the nation. This count is used primarily to determine how many seats each state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is also used to redraw district boundaries for each representative district. But the information is used in other ways, as well. It affects how more than $400 billion per year in funding is distributed for all kinds of public projects like hospitals and schools, roads and job training centers. That's more than $4 trillion over a 10-year period. And people from many walks of life use census data to advocate for causes, rescue disaster victims, prevent diseases, research markets, locate pools of skilled workers and more. 

      IDB encourages every household to participate in the Census and return their questionnaire by April 1, 2010. If you have questions about filling out the form, or how the information is used, you can go to the 2010 Census Home Page:  There you will also find large-type and Web Braille examples of the census form that can be viewed or downloaded. For those files, go to and scroll to the bottom of the page. 
      You may also listen to an audio version of a sample questionnaire here.
      For those without web access or Braille display technology, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has printed and embossed copies of each of these files available, as well as an audio cassette version available for circulation. Just ask your reader advisor for more information.
      While it is helpful to have examples of the questionnaire that you can read yourself, these are just examples and aren’t the actual questionnaire. The official form is the one you will receive in the mail. Unfortunately, it will not be in an accessible format but, nonetheless, must still be filled out and mailed in. Blind and visually-impaired Iowans may ask someone they know to help them fill out a census questionnaire or they may visit a Questionnaire Assistance Center where a paid Census Bureau staff member can assist them. 
      Assistance can also be found by calling toll free 1-866-872-6868 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., 7 days a week.
      The IDB Library will have a list of Questionnaire Assistance Centers in Iowa so you can locate one near you.  If you do not fill out a census form and mail it in, a census worker will contact you by phone or in person to obtain the information.
      Participation in the census is one of the most powerful ways of having a voice in the United States so stand up and be counted!
      Here is a news article that discusses the importance that those with disabilities participate in the census and how they can get help filling out the form.
      For help, you may search for a local questionnaire assistance center by clicking this link: