The U.S. Census Bureau's road tour promoting its upcoming census made a first stop on Long Island Tuesday, though without its exhibit trailer due to a mechanical problem.

Still, more than a dozen census "partnership specialists" were at the Elmont Public Library, talking up the census to local residents.

The bureau has a dozen regional vehicles, and a national vehicle, which have been visiting communities nationwide since the beginning of the year to inform people about the census process and to encourage them to contribute stories and photos to the bureau's traveling "Portrait of America" exhibit.

Households across the nation should receive census forms in the mail March 15-17.

Lauren Zyriek, a partnership specialist, said the road tour, which has already been in New York City and some counties, was focused on "hard to count" communities, historically those with large numbers of minorities, such as Elmont.

While the New York van's mechanical problem meant an interactive representation of the 10-question census form was unavailable Tuesday, "we still want to be present in the community," she said.

The tour - with or without the van - is scheduled to continue on Long Island this week and next. Its next scheduled stop is Thursday at 10 a.m. at Hempstead Village's Rosa Parks Bus terminal on West Columbia Street, then on to Freeport at 1 p.m. at Sunrise Highway and South Main Street.

It's slated to pull into Hicksville and Westbury on Friday and be in Central Islip and Brentwood on Saturday. Stops are scheduled Sunday in Patchogue and Wyandanch. Through the remainder of next week, the tour will visit Babylon, Amityville, Medford and Coram.

Library visitor and local resident Marianne Stranch was already well versed on the census. She noted how the count affects the allocation of federal resources - $400 billion to communities annually. "So it's very important," she said.

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