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New Collaboration Brings Public Opinion to the Public Through the Queens Public Library System

February 18, 2020

Non-Profits, Media, Educators and Engaged Citizens Can Access Current and Historical Public Opinion Data

Queens, NY
(February 18, 2020) – Among other things, public libraries equip citizens for democracy. An innovative collaboration between the Queens Public Library and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University offers a new tool to library users in Queens: a database of current and historical polling data. The America’s Voice Project will give patrons access to the Roper Center database of polling questions in time for the 2020 election.

By becoming the first large public library system in the country to provide access to the Roper Center’s database of over 725,000 poll questions from 1935 to today, the Queens Public Library displays its commitment to cultivating an informed and engaged citizenry.

Queens Public Library Chief Librarian Nick Buron said, “Our library staff are very enthusiastic to learn about this extraordinary resource and help library users discover what others have thought about the great debates of their time.”

Established in 1947, the Roper Center holds the largest archival collection of polling data in the world, representing the voices of millions of survey respondents. The surveys offer information on public beliefs, attitudes and experiences related to politics, social issues, health, and more.

“Part of our mission is dissemination of information about public opinion from the ever-expanding Roper Center archive,” stated Professor Robert Shapiro, Chair of the Board of Directors at Roper Center and Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. “The America’s Voice Project will educate new users in schools, local media and non-profits, and citizens about public opinion research and give them much-needed context for better understanding the polls they see daily in the news. These polls tell us much about the voice of the people in our American democracy."

About Queens Public Library
Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, two universal pre-kindergartens, and two teen centers.

About the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
Founded in 1947 by Elmo Roper, the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research continues to play a crucial role in the advancement of the field of public opinion research.  The Center’s mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate public opinion data; to serve as a resource to help improve the practice of survey research; and to broaden the understanding of public opinion through the use of survey data in the United States and around the world.  The digital archive, also known as Roper iPoll, includes data from as early as 1935 and offers users over 725,000 questions and more than 25,000 datasets, expanding daily as questions and surveys are added to study records. In addition to Roper iPoll the Center retains a physical collection in its offices on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY.  A 501 (c)(3), non-profit, the Roper Center is hosted at Cornell University.  Annually, the Roper Center Board of Directors recognizes professional contributions to the field of public opinion research by awarding the Warren J. Mitofsky Award. On the web at https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/. Inquiries to media@ropercenter.org.