How do I find information about my library’s community?

It is just as important to understand how to find and use data from outside sources as it is to know how to use the data collected by your library. The following are just a few key resources for data about your community.

  • The Census is the best resource for demographic information about U.S. Communities. Start with the American Community Survey Handbooks for Data Users before diving in to US Census data at
  • Census Reporter is another tool for exploring and visualizing Census data for your community.
  • For a deeper set of data, including American Census microdata (more details but more complex data) and global data, use IPUMS from University of Michigan. This site includes training and documentation.
  • Civic Switchboard offers resources to help libraries become more involved in civic data initiatives in their local communities.