Be Counted. Be Heard. Cleveland Public Library Explores Democracy

Cleveland is facing big decisions in 2020. And, Cleveland Public Library is the source for information about the Census, the U.S. presidential election and voter registration.

Cleveland Public Library is kicking off its Democracy 2020 campaign with voter registration drives at select neighborhood branches and virtual programs to educate the public about what it means to vote and participate in the democratic process. The Library is providing resources and recommended reads to help people prepare for the election, learn the candidates, and understand the importance of completing the Census. We have invited nationally recognized authors to inspire us and challenge our thinking.

“Cleveland Public Library believes an inclusive democracy is a strong democracy, so it is making sure every Clevelander is heard and counted this year,” said Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library. “We have formed partnerships with civic groups, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to inform our community about their democratic rights and choices. The goal of our Democracy 2020 campaign is to get people of all ages to become active participants in government matters and issues affecting their neighborhoods.”

Every Thursday, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will host voter registration drives at the following branches:

Fleet BranchNoon – 3 p.m.
Fulton Branch1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Memorial-Nottingham Branch9 a.m. – noon
Rice Branch10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Walz Branch10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Can’t make it to one of those branches? No problem! Vote-by-mail and voter registration applications will be provided at all Cleveland Public Library locations.

The Library is working with the Board of Elections to host monthly virtual discussions to inform people about the value of voting, how to register and what to expect on Election Day. All discussions will take place at noon on the Library’s Facebook page.


Monday, August 10Value of Voting: Why you should register to vote?
Monday, September 14Voting in the Age of COVID 19
Monday, October 12Vote-by-Mail: What you need to know?
Monday, November 2What to Expect on Election Day?

Now is the time to be counted too. The 2020 Census is due September 30. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Cleveland’s response to the 2020 Census is far behind the national average. Nationwide the self-response rate is 62.1%. Cleveland is at 47%.  That’s why Cleveland Public Library is teaming up with the U.S. Census Bureau to help people understand the importance of Census. We are hosting monthly virtual discussions with community leaders to educate people on what is at stake. All discussions will take place at noon on the Library’s Facebook page.


Friday, June 5Who’s Being Left Out of the Census? with LGBT Center
Friday, July 3Democracy and the Census with Councilman Blaine Griffin
Friday, August 7Who’s at the Door? with Cuyahoga Counts
Friday, September 4Cultural Awareness with Joe Cimperman of Global Cleveland
Friday, September 18Make it Count! Don’t Ghost the Census with Urban League

Staff at all Cleveland Public Library locations are available to answer questions about the election and 2020 Census. People are encouraged to use ASK CPL, our online chat system on to live chat with a Librarian.


Starting in September, the Library will kick off a virtual author series bringing award-winning and popular authors to discuss issues that matter most and explore the systems impacting our voices in our democracy.

All events are free and will be held via Zoom. Attendees are encouraged to register.

For recommended reads about Democracy, facts about the 2020 Census and the election, or a look at photographic images of civic pride and protest in Cleveland through the years, visit the Democracy 2020 website.