Read for Later - “Having less information about where you live and the people you live with…I can’t think that’s a good thing.”

This week’s headline quotes Dennis Deninger, professor of practice at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, on the demise of another information and cultural resource in small and rural communities: not the local newspaper, but the local radio station (The Guardian “America's rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country's soul with them”). 

A note that we are already looking ahead to the 2020 Midwinter Meeting and the Symposium on the Future of Libraries (January 24 – 28, 2020, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). We are currently accepting session proposals for the 2020 Symposium. First review of proposals will begin July 15th with a final closing date for proposals of August 15th. You can learn more from our press release.

You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures.

What new information has sparked your interest? Drop me a line to let me know what you're reading or discovering that helps you consider the future of libraries.

Five Highlights

The Guardian “America's rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country's soul with them”
Struggling to attract advertisement dollars, many small-town radio stations are selling to media conglomerates that provide remote service agreements feeding content to stations across the country– the loss of rural radio stations leaves many communities with another cultural and informational deficit.

The Wall Street Journal “Apple touts new privacy features amid scrutiny of tech giants”
At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple said its forthcoming mobile operating system, iOS 13, would include an Apple sign-in capability that allows people to log into apps without revealing any personal information, a push that is designed to further differentiate it from Google and Facebook. See also Slate “Apple is a tech regulator”

Bloomberg “Ikea shares glimpse of a very different future in crowded cities”
At its Democratic Design Days, Ikea announced plans to work with developer Ikano Bostad and design lab Space10 on projects to help solve the challenges facing cities confronted with growing urbanization, aging populations, soaring housing prices, and a lack of natural resources – the vision includes more residential compounds with shared facilities and robotic storage that can be minimized when not in use (projects in partnership with startups like Ori and BumblebeeSpaces).

The Economist “Flying cars are almost here, but they don’t look like cars”
A growing collection of start-ups (Opener, eHang, Volocopter, Lilium, Kitty Hawk) are pursuing urban air mobility with designs for single or two-seat personal air transport powered by electrically driven propellors—urban air mobility has the potential to change the way society works even as traditional modes of transportation continue.

TechSpot “Americans now spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV”
According to a new report by eMarketer, US consumers are using their smartphones and tablets more than they are watching TV, with the average US adult spending 3 hours and 43 minutes on mobile devices every day in 2019, just slightly above the 3 hours and 35 minutes they’ll spend watching television.

Communities and Demographics

The Globe and Mail “Overdose crises lowering life expectancy: Statistics Canada”
Life expectancy in Canada has stopped increasing for the first time in more than four decades, due largely to soaring overdose deaths in the Western provinces like British Columbia and Alberta.


Engadget “Amazon's new delivery drone is a helicopter-airplane hybrid”
Amazon unveiled a new “hybrid-design” electric drone that can take off and land vertically like a typical hexacopter drone, but has aerodynamics more like that of a fixed-wing aircraft – the vehicle operates on six degrees of movement instead of four, is more stable and better suited to coping with gusts of wind, and sensors and AI help it avoid unexpected obstacles (including moving ones). See also Geekwire “Robots, drones, satellites, and Amazon’s vision for the future of automation and humanity” and MIT Technology Review “Forget drones, Amazon’s real robot innovation is in the warehouse”

The Internet

The New York Times “YouTube to remove thousands of videos pushing extreme views”
YouTube announced plans to remove thousands of videos that advocate neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and other bigoted ideologies. The decision follows a tumultuous few days that began when YouTube said a prominent right-wing creator who used racial language and homophobic slurs to harass a journalist in videos did not violate its policies – that decision set off accusations that YouTube was giving a free pass to some of its popular creators. See also The Verge “YouTube’s new policies are catching educators, journalists, and activists in the crossfire”

The Verdict “5G ranks above AI in digital transformation for industrial companies”
A new report by French consultancy firm Capgemini surveyed over 800 executives from companies spanning 12 countries and 11 sub-sectors (aerospace & defense, automotive, and logistics) finding that many see 5G as one of the most important technologies for digital transformation over the next five years, ranking it above artificial intelligence – while still in its nascent stage, 5G is expected to substantially improve mobile internet speed and reduce latency, improving the capabilities of internet-connected devices, from driverless cars to industrial machines.

Journalism and News

Pew Research Center - Journalism & Media “Many Americans say made-up news is a critical problem that needs to be fixed”
A new Pew Research Center survey of 6,127 U.S. adults finds that more Americans view made-up news as a very big problem for the country than identify terrorism, illegal immigration, racism, and sexism that way – nearly seven-in-ten U.S. adults (68%) say made-up news and information greatly impacts Americans’ confidence in government institutions and roughly half (54%) say it is having a major impact on our confidence in each other.

Nieman Lab “The Boston Globe’s move into Rhode Island is a bet that the last newspapers standing will have a bigger footprint”
The Boston Globe will invest in more local coverage in neighboring state Rhode Island, hiring three journalists to cover the state as the publication seeks to expand its subscriber base – while Rhode Island has six daily newspapers and 20-plus weeklies for a population of 1.1 million, total circulation for those publications has dropped by 54% between 2004 and 2019.

Maker Movement

TechCrunch “Maker Faire halts operations and lays off all staff”
Facing financial troubles, Maker Media, the company behind crafting publication MAKE: magazine and the science and art festival Maker Faire, has laid off its entire staff of 22 and paused all operations.


The Hill “Trump administration to ask most US visa applicants for social media information”
The Trump administration will implement a new policy asking most applicants for U.S. visas to provide information on their use of social media – applicants will have the option to say that they do not use social media if that is the case, but lying about social media use could result in "serious immigration consequences.”

Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces

CityLab “The largest co-housing building in the world is coming to San Jose”
Co-housing start-up Starcity, which has broken ground on seven developments in Los Angeles and San Francisco, will launch its biggest project—an 18-story building with 803 units in downtown San Jose, set to be the biggest co-housing development yet.

The Verge “Walmart employees will soon deliver groceries directly into your fridge”
Walmart announced an InHome service that will deliver groceries directly into customers’ refrigerators when they are away from home – the InHome services will launch this Fall and be available to over 1 million customers in Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Vero Beach, Florida.

Streaming Media

CNET “Barack and Michelle Obama sign podcast deal with Spotify”
Spotify announced a partnership with former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to produce exclusive podcasts through the Obama’s production company, Higher Ground.

Voice Control

TechCrunch “Amazon will soon make having a chat with Alexa feel more natural”
At its re:Mars conference, Amazon announced that it is working on making interacting with its Alexa personal assistant more natural by enabling more fluid conversations that can move from topic to topic without having to constantly say “Alexa” – the company is relying on a new dialogue system that can predict next actions and easily switch between different Alexa skills.