Read for Later - “The face of New York City storefronts, they will not be forever changed, but they will be changed for the foreseeable future.”

This week’s headline quotes Andrea Dillon, the owner of Busy Bodies day care center in Brooklyn, which opened in 2016 but closed in April, one of many small businesses in New York City that was forced to close due to the pandemic. (The New York Times "One-third of New York’s small businesses may be gone forever")

A scheduling note – there will not be a post next week, August 17.

You can always check out the Center's trend collection – including our Coronavirus page – 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

Governing "Support for housing the homeless continues as COVID rages"
Federal aid for pandemic response has included funding for programs that help states address homelessness and has led to a heightened level of action and commitment to aiding unhoused people – groups like the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) hope to build on this support and promote proven strategies for getting unsheltered Americans into housing, including the new Framework for an Equitable Homelessness Response

Brookings "Now, more than half of Americans are millennials or younger"
New analysis of age data released by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that more than half of the nation’s total population are now members of the millennial generation or younger – the combined millennial, Gen Z, and younger generations numbered 166 million as of July 2019, or 50.7% of the nation’s population.

The Atlantic "Colleges are deeply unequal workplaces"
Colleges’ reopening plans have raised concerns about the safety of faculty teaching in classrooms, but largely left out of the conversation have been concerns for staff that keep campuses up and running – the pandemic has exposed long-standing divisions in the campus workplace, evidenced by the effects of furloughs and layoffs on staff and their exclusion from many work from home policies. See also The Washington Post "‘The kids will forget’: Custodians, housekeepers and other support staff brace for college reopenings"

Mashable "Americans are totally overwhelmed by the news"
New results from a Gallup and Knight Foundation survey of 20,000 Americans finds 62% of respondents (up from 58% in 2017) saying that it is harder "to be well-informed because of all the sources of information available" – the survey also found that respondents’ trust in the news splits along party lines, with people who identify as "very conservative" or "Republican" showing greater mistrust of the media.

The New York Times "One-third of New York’s small businesses may be gone forever"
More than 2,800 businesses in New York City have permanently closed since March 1, according to data from Yelp, the business listing and review site, with about half the closings occurring in Manhattan, where office buildings have been hollowed out, its wealthier residents have left for second homes, and tourists have stayed away – a report by the Partnership for New York City, an influential business group, predicts that by the time the pandemic subsides, roughly one-third of the city’s 240,000 small businesses will have closed. See also The San Francisco Chronicle "Empty towers. Quiet streets. Struggling cafes. Will downtown San Francisco ever boom again?"

Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines

Engadget "Ford deploys Boston Dynamics’ Spot robots to survey Michigan plant"
Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Michigan has announced the deployment of two of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robots to aid in laser scanning the plant so engineers have an updated model of what the floor looks like, as changes have been made over the years that may not have been documented.

Cities and Government

The Verge "Apple and Google’s COVID-19 tracking system will make its full U.S. debut in new Virginia app"
Virginia plans to release a COVID-19 exposure notification app, called COVIDWISE, based on the specifications published by Apple and Google in April – the app is the first fully deployed implementation of Apple’s and Google’s system in the U.S. and was beta-tested by the state department of health.

Communities and Demographics

Bloomberg "Americans aren’t making babies, and that’s bad for the economy"
Findings from a Guttmacher Institute survey of 2,000 American women in late April and early May found that 34% wanted to delay pregnancy or have fewer children as a result of the pandemic, outpacing the 17% who said they wanted children sooner or more of them – the results indicate that more families are taking a cautious approach to planning, factoring in the difficulty of the pandemic and its associated economic fallout.

The Washington Post "2020 is the summer of booming home sales — and evictions"
The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating housing inequities across the U.S., as Americans with money in the bank buy bigger homes, while renters increasingly worry about eviction – nearly 15 million homes sold nationwide in April, May, and June, according to new data released by the Commerce Department and National Association of Realtors, even as 12.6 million renters say they were unable to pay rent last month, according to the latest Household Pulse survey from the U.S. Census. See also Bloomberg "One-third of American renters expected to miss their August payment" and The Hechinger Report "Children will bear the brunt of a looming eviction crisis"

Economics and the Workplace

The Verge "Google will keep employees working remotely until July 2021" and "Facebook extends remote work for employees through July 2021"
Google plans to keep 200,000 full-time and contract employees working remotely until at least July 2021 – a Google spokesperson confirmed that CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to employees explaining “To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office.” Similarly, Facebook will let its employees continue to work from home through July 2021 – in a statement, Facebook spokesperson Nneka Norville commented: “Based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions about these matters, we are allowing employees to continue voluntarily working from home until July 2021. In addition, we are giving employees an additional $1,000 for home office needs.” See also GeekWire "Seattle joins regional cities and counties in allowing public sector employees to work remotely into 2021" and The New York Times "Facebook bets big on future of N.Y.C., and offices, with new lease"


Vox "The pandemic is fueling the private tutoring industry"
Well-off families are hiring pandemic pod teachers and private tutors to assist them with virtual learning, sometimes for groups of children that would need a caregiver present multiple times a week – the pods can exist solely as a supplement to online curriculum, but may also advance the development of microschools or other systems that further inequities in educational access.

The Internet

Ars Technica "Trump administration gives TikTok 45 days to sell to Microsoft or leave US"
After weeks of rumor and speculation, the Trump administration issued an executive order giving TikTok's parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, 45 days to sell off the social media service or else stop operating in the United States – Microsoft confirmed that it is in talks to buy TikTok's operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and may also invite other U.S. investors to take minority stakes in the deal. See also NPR "TikTok to sue Trump administration over ban"

The Verge "YouTube is ending its community captions feature and deaf creators aren’t happy about it"
YouTube plans to discontinue its community captions feature, which allowed viewers to add subtitles to videos, because it was “rarely used and had problems with spam/abuse” – while users can still create their own captions or use automatic captions or third party tools and services, many deaf and hard-of-hearing creators say removing the community captions feature will stifle accessibility and they want to see the company try to fix the issues with volunteer-created captions, rather than doing away with them entirely. See also The Verge "Google’s live-captioning feature will soon work with voice and video calls on Pixel phones"

Journalism and News

Nieman Lab "Twitter will now label state-controlled media accounts"
Twitter will begin labeling state-run news organizations and label the accounts of those outlets’ editors-in-chief and their senior staffers – for Twitter, state-affiliated media is defined as “outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution,” meaning that Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua News will get the label, while the United Kingdom’s BBC and NPR in the United States will not because they’re publicly funded institutions with editorial independence. See also Engadget "Twitter will block links promoting hate speech and violence"


Mobility and Transportation

Government Technology "Contactless transit fare systems are in high demand"
Transit agencies are rapidly moving forward with technological advances like mobile-ticketing, account-based fare programs, and contactless payment as part of a larger push to mitigate the novel coronavirus – the changes could also help integrate fare payment across different mobility providers and platforms, such as shared bikes, scooters, or cars.

Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces

ArsTechnica "CES 2021 in Las Vegas is cancelled; event moves online"
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), organizer of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), announced that CES 2021 in Las Vegas is canceled and that the show is "shifting to an all-digital platform for 2021."

Streaming Media

CNET "NBC's Peacock streaming service hits 10 million sign-ups"
Peacock, the streaming service from Comcast's NBCUniversal, has signed up 10 million accounts, including people who registered with Peacock during its rollout to Comcast pay-TV customers in April as well as new members that have signed up since its national launch in July – competing with the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and others, Peacock was the last big new service to roll out in the so-called "streaming wars," when a flood of services spilled out from tech and media giants over a roughly nine-month period. See also TechCrunch "Disney+ grows to more than 60.5M subscribers" and CNET "Spotify hits 138 million subscribers, as total listeners near milestone"

Mashable "Netflix rolls out new playback speed settings, starting with Android"
A new feature on Netflix lets Android users adjust playback speed settings to watch content at both slower (0.5x and 0.75x) and faster (1.25x and 1.5x) speeds – the feature's release comes after a testing process that started back in October 2019 and raised concern from many in the creative community.

The Verge "Quibi launches a completely free ad-supported tier in Australia, New Zealand"
Quibi is beginning to offer an ad-supported free plan to subscribers in Australia and New Zealand as the struggling streaming company tries to build its subscriber base – it’s unclear if Quibi has plans to launch a free, ad-supported tier in other countries, but it’s an option that many media critics and analysts have suggested, even before the streaming service launched.

CNET "Disney to release Mulan online Sept. 4 on Disney Plus, for $30 in US"
Disney will release its live-action film Mulan online through its Disney Plus service, but it will cost $30 in the U.S. in addition to Disney Plus' regular subscription fee – the company characterized Mulan's release as a one-off, though it could serve as an experiment that guides its future release decisions. See also The Verge "Mulan’s move to Disney Plus proves how quickly the pandemic forever changed entertainment" and Wired "Mulan, Tenet, and the future of going to the movies" and Variety "Universal, AMC Theatres forge historic deal allowing theatrical releases to debut on premium VOD early"