Off the Shelf: Numbers tell a story

Off the Shelf: Numbers tell a story

Every 10 years, the Census counts everyone living in the United States. By mid-March, you’ll receive a postcard in the mail with information about how to complete the 2020 Census -online, by phone or by mail. It only takes 10 minutes to complete and reflects where you are living on April 1.

Accurate census data is important! The data collected supports decisions about such things as the number of House of Representatives seats per state, voting district lines, Head Start funding and block grants for community services.

The Census matters to our community and affects federal and state funding for important local projects.

To celebrate the 10-year count, the library is hosting a Census Party from 2-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. Lorraine Ralson, partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, will be present to answer questions.

Number-based games will be available to play and refreshments will be served at this all-ages event. Computers are available for anyone to use at the library and staff are available to answer questions or help you get to the Census website.

Digging into the numbers

Census data provides a glimpse into the future and the past. The first U.S. Census took place in 1790 when the nation was made up of 13 states. At that time, the total U.S. population was 3.9 million people, and the entire population of New York City was a little more than 33,000.

In 2010, the U.S. population was more than 300 million, and New York City was still the largest city at 8 million people.

On the state level, the Office of Financial Management prepares annual population estimates for cities and towns in Washington. In 2019, Washington state’s population was estimated at 7.5 million.

The current estimated population of Sequim is 7,695. In 1980, population of Sequim was 3,013.

The Sequim Branch Library building was built in 1983, when the town’s population was less than half of what it is today.

Of course, the library provides services to more than just in-town residents, but the numbers help tell the story. The library is a popular place and as the town and surrounding area’s population increases, the available space in the library becomes more and more cramped.

In 2019, there were more than 130,000 customer visits to the Sequim Library and more than 400,000 items were checked out or renewed. Community members used the meeting room for more than 500 meetings last year in addition to the 200 programs offered by the library.

About 1,500 people signed up to get a new library card and 47,000 prints were made from the public computers last year. The Sequim Library is a busy place!

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the library, stop by to say hello. If you haven’t made it to the library yet, stop by anytime during open hours to get a library card.

The Sequim Library is located at 630 N. Sequim Ave. Visit, email to or call 360-683-1161 for more information.

Emily Sly is Sequim Library Manager.

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