This week’s headline quotes Sam Thonis, co-owner with Regina Dellea of Getaway, an alcohol-free bar in Brooklyn, on the growth of alcohol-free social spaces in cities and communities filled with specific venues catering to specific interests (BBC “The rise of the sober bar”).
A quick push for the new Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census, created by ALA and the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality. The Guide is available for free download at ala.org/census and contains practical information to assist library staff in addressing potential patron and community requests regarding the upcoming 2020 Census.
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.
The New York Times “U.S. birthrate drops 4th year in a row, possibly echoing the Great Recession”
The United States’ birthrate fell for a fourth consecutive year in 2018, bringing the number of people born in the country to its lowest level in 32 years, according to provisional figures published by the federal government – a number of factors contributed to the downward trend, including fewer teenage pregnancies and the lingering effects of the Great Recession, which made it harder for people now in their 20s and 30s to reach the kind of milestones (getting married, establishing a career, or buying a home) that often precede starting a family.
Government Technology “Kiosks: Today’s elegant and simple smart city program”
Digital kiosks have become an unlikely solution that enables smart city designers to address both the goals and obstacles for smart city development – kiosks can be affordable (subsidized by advertisements); offer computing power and a platform where sensors can be deployed; and empower digital equity solutions with power, connectivity, and location for Wi-Fi access.
CNET “San Francisco becomes first city to bar police from using facial recognition”
The city of San Francisco approved an ordinance to bar the police department and other city agencies from using facial recognition on residents, the first such ban of the technology in the country – several other cities are considering facial recognition bans, including Oakland and Berkeley in California, as well as Somerville, Massachusetts, as part of a larger backlash against the technology from privacy advocates, lawmakers, and even other tech companies. See also CityLab “The Bay Area’s spy camera ban is only the beginning” and Mashable “Here's why San Francisco's vote to ban facial-recognition tech matters” and Wired “Some US cities are moving into real-time facial surveillance”
BBC “The rise of the sober bar”
A look at the alcohol-free movement in nightspots that specifically cater to people who are avoiding alcohol, but still want to go out and socialize in spaces that have traditionally been dominated by drinking.
Reuters “Exclusive: Amazon rolls out machines that pack orders and replace jobs”
Amazon is piloting new machines in some of its warehouses that scan goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelops them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item – the machines could automate jobs held by thousands of workers across the company.
Books and Reading
TechCrunch “Google’s latest app, Rivet, uses speech processing to help kids learn to read”
Rivet, a new app from Google’s in-house Area 120 incubator, offers over 2,000 free books with an in-app assistant that can help kids when they get stuck on a word by way of advanced speech technology – children can tap on words to hear how they are pronounced or they can say it themselves out loud to be shown in the app which parts were said correctly and which need work.
Communities and Demographics
The Los Angeles Times “Homeless population jumps by thousands across the San Francisco Bay Area”
Preliminary results of San Francisco’s point-in-time count of homelessness in the Bay Area finds a 17% jump in the number of homeless residents over the last two years, with a noted increase in the number of people living in cars and campers – volunteers recorded 8,011 homeless people living in shelters and on the streets in the city, an increase from 6,858 people counted in 2017.
Economics and the Workplace
HR Dive “Workers value L&D enough to pursue it in their own time, on their own dime”
A new report from human resource consulting firm Randstad finds that nearly two-thirds of employees will find training opportunities independently to advance or maintain their skills, with 43% exploring ways to further their technical skills (data analysis, coding, writing and computer programming) and 41% furthering “soft” skills (communication, presentation, problem-solving, conflict resolution, leadership) – the report is based on a survey of 1,700 working professionals and 800 human resource professionals from around the world.
TechCrunch “XPRIZE names two grand prize winners in $15 million Global Learning Challenge”
XPRIZE named two grand prize winners in the Elon Musk-backed Global Learning XPRIZE Challenge to develop scalable services that could enable children to teach themselves basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills within 15 months – KitKit School developed a game-based core and flexible learning architecture to help kids learn independently and onebillion merged numeracy content with literacy material to provide directed learning and activities alongside monitoring to personalize responses to children’s needs
The Guardian “Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment”
The Guardian has updated its style guide to introduce terms that more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world – “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” is now the preferred term over “climate change”; “global heating” is favored over “global warming”; and “climate science denier” used in place of “climate skeptic.”
The Atlantic “Tech companies are deleting evidence of war crimes”
As tech companies take on the roles of moderators for the words and images that should be allowed on their sites, they have become entangled in a conflict between their desire to minimize extremist and objectionable content and some governments’ interest in muzzling speech and the exposure of wrong-doings.
Vox “People say they care about privacy but they continue to buy devices that can spy on them”
A new connected devices survey by Consumers International and the Internet Society reports that 63% of people find connected devices to be “creepy” and 75% don’t trust the way their data is shared by those devices, but nearly 70% of survey takers said they own one or more connected device – the survey was conducted online and included a minimum of 1,000 consumers in each of six countries: United States, France, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and Japan.
The Sharing Economy
Vox “Uber’s premium customers can now push a button to tell their drivers to be quiet”
Uber is offering users of its premium Uber Black service a new “quiet mode” feature to request that drivers be quiet during the ride.
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
CNET “Amazon creates the new Amazon Hub brand for all its locker services”
Amazon created a new global name for its many lockers and pickup services, called Amazon Hub, to include the Locker service, Locker Plus staffed pickup and return spots at college campuses, Apartment Locker service for apartment complexes, and the new Counter service that allows customers to order goods online and then pick them up at nearby retailers and convenience stores.
CNBC “Walmart announces next-day delivery, firing back at Amazon”
Walmart said it will roll out next-day delivery in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Southern California and will expand it to reach roughly 75% of American consumers by the end of 2019, including 40 of the top 50 major metros.