It’s that quiet week between the holidays and the New Year (Happy 2016, by the way!) so there’s a little less news in the mix. But I found that left space for some more thoughtful pieces, like how the internet is changing our reading habits, how used bookstores are staging a comeback, and how apps aren't as innocent as we think.
A note regarding next week. Along with many other ALA colleagues and members, I will be in Boston for the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting and so I will not be sending out a Read for Later on Monday, January 11. Unless I get super-ambitious.
If you are going to be at Midwinter, consider joining the Center for a couple of events, like our session on change management with Kotter International, our forum with Boston-based civic innovators Nigel Jacob and Tamara Roy, or our forum with Boston-based social innovators from Boston College’s School of Social Work and non-profits Small Can Be Big and Family Independence Initiative.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our future work.
And let us know what you're reading this week to help think about later. And if you’re going to be in Boston, we can even talk about it in-person.
Books, Publishing, and Media
I often wonder, as I’m scanning through the week’s news, am I really reading or am I just hunting for the next link to copy and paste? So it was enlightening to read professor and writer Jackson Bliss’ thoughts on how our continuous reading (emails, texts, posts, listicles, etc.) has made us “both reading junkies and professional text skimmers,” determined to find evidence to support our own belief system, comment on, and avoid too critical a level of thinking (The Daily Dot “How the Internet Changed the Way We Read”).
I know that libraries aren’t the same as used bookstores, but hearing that used bookstores are growing in popularity as they distinguish themselves by the unique community space they provide, the eclectic inventory they house, and the affordability they offer, had me nodding throughout (The Washington Post “In the Age of Amazon, Used Bookstores are Making an Unlikely Comeback”). Additional insights – used bookstores are widening their customer base by making their inventories findable online in places like Amazon’s third-party marketplace; they are locating themselves in culturally diverse and book-friendly neighborhoods; and they are taking advantage of current mood to downsize and simplify.
I love a quick, easy-to-read look ahead. These two looks at trends for 2016 in Higher Education (Education Dive “5 Higher Ed Trends to Watch in 2016”) and K-12 (Education Dive “5 K-12 Trends to Watch in 2016”) helps us focus on competency-based education, analytics, mergers and closure, personalized learning, and more.
Fandom continues to surprise me. We live in a world where the obvious (Star Wars, Mad Max, and Marvel) and less obvious (Broadway musical Hamilton, Mars-related science and fiction) can spawn communities of deeply interested fans (The Daily Dot “The 11 Most Important Fandoms of 2015”).
As 2015 drew to a close, we probably all saw our fair share of those “Best Apps of 2015” lists. But apps have their problems – they take up space, they are platform-specific, they need to be updated. New web standards might make it easier for the web and web browsers to compete with apps so that one site could support access via phone, tablet, PC, or other device (ArsTechnica “The App-ocalypse: Can Web Standards Make Mobile Apps Obsolete?”).
Juxtapose the thinking above with the thinking driving app makers’ focus on teens. Aware that teens juggle from one app to another, makers are building in more features to keep teens interested and competitive in their use, paying less attention to monthly users and more attention to users per day and length of stay (The New York Times “App Makers Reach Out to the Teenager on Mobile”). This will make you wonder how educators, allies, and libraries will reach teens in an app-filled and -fueled future. And, if nothing else, just try to understand the Wishbone app described in the article – it just makes me feel old.
Internet of Things
2014 was. 2015 was. And, yes, 2016, will be the year for the Internet of Things. For real, this time. But after several years of growth, 2016 could be a very important transformational year for IoT, especially in terms of policy issues, like user privacy concerns, and standards, as companies try to create things that truly connect with a larger ecosystem (TechCrunch “What Will The Internet Of Things Be When It Grows Up?”).
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Images of a new version of Google’s augmented reality wearable, Glass, circulated from filings on the FCC’s website (The Guardian "Google Glass 2.0: First Pictures Emerge"). This latest version is likely intended for the business sector, especially healthcare and manufacturing. AR’s impact on the workplace is dependent on more than just new equipment, though. Workplaces will need to research and assemble quite a bit of information to make AR work – identifying tasks that could be improved by AR; data to be contextualized and segmented for worker’s to take insight from; and designing image recognition systems that can understand what workers are seeing (BBC “Will Augmented Reality Change Your Job?”).
Some Library Stories
Summer reading gets a lot of attention, but how about a winter reading program to stave off cabin fever in colder climates (“Library Starts Winter Reading Program”).
All Tech Considered looks at libraries lending wi-fi hot spots (“For Internet To Go, Check The Library”).
For a nice look at how school libraries are essential to their campuses – as spaces for education, research, and community – check out this piece on the remodel of the Brook Point High School Library in Virginia (“Library Makeover Transforms Brooke Point High School in Stafford").
Midland County Public Library was named the 2015 Organization of the Year by the Midland Reporter-Telegram in Texas (“Midland County Public Library Reconnects with the Community”). The interview with Director of Libraries John Trischitti shows a library that is transforming services and also modeling a collective impact approach with other organizations in the community.