This week’s headline quotes Sarah Kamya, whose Little Free Diverse Libraries project places books about Black history, Black culture, and books that celebrate African American children into Little Free Libraries. In just a few months, she's raised more than $16,000 and purchased more than 1,400 diverse books for Little Free Libraries in all 50 states. (USA Today "'Decolonize your bookshelf': Little libraries, book boxes promote conversation about race in America")
A scheduling note. This will be my last post as editor for this Read for Later e-newsletter. Through this period of transition, ALA will keep the roster and subscription page open, even as there may be a delay in new posts. Thank you for subscribing and reading with us – and we look forward to what's coming next!
Wired "Amazon and FedEx push to put delivery robots on your sidewalk"
Amazon and FedEx continue their push for delivery robots, with FedEx’s Roxo having completed on-road tests in four cities and Amazon’s Scout currently testing in four cities – but even as state legislatures look to ease the adoption of delivery robots, many residents have raised concern for what these developments could mean for the future of sidewalks and pedestrians.
USA Today "'Decolonize your bookshelf': Little libraries, book boxes promote conversation about race in America"
As many Americans seek to better educate themselves on issues of systemic racism, activists like Sarah Kamya took note of the Little Free Libraries in her neighborhood and the absence of any kind of racial diversity in their book selections – Kamya’s solution came in the form of Little Free Diverse Libraries filled with books about Black history, Black culture, and titles that celebrate African American children or those with diverse backgrounds.
Governing "Will the outdoors become the new classroom of the COVID era?"
The National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative is bringing together educators, architects, school administrators, landscape designers, curriculum experts, and other stakeholders who are thinking outside the box and developing guidelines and resources for learning outdoors during the pandemic.
Fast Company "This grocery startup is placing fully stocked fridges of free food around the Bay Area"
Inspired by community refrigerators in New York City during the pandemic, Cheetah, a wholesale grocery delivery startup, has launched its #FoodGiving campaign with refrigerators in San Jose with gallons of juice, cartons of eggs, loaves of bread, and a drawer full of vegetables all for the taking, at no cost – Cheetah has regularly donated perishable items that are nearing their best-by date to local food banks on a weekly basis, but the new community refrigerator program brings food donation directly to the individual.
CNN "Don't argue with anti-maskers, CDC warns stores"
New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeks to limit workplace violence that could be aimed at workers when enforcing their companies' COVID-19 safety procedures – the CDC warns that workers could be threatened or assaulted for enforcing mask wearing and encourages safety measures for businesses, including conflict-resolution training for their workers, installing security systems, and identifying designated safe areas in stores where employees can go to if they feel in danger.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
National Geographic "The robot revolution has arrived"
The pandemic has made the idea of replacing people with robots—an idea majorities of people around the world dislike, according to polls—seem medically wise, if not essential, as robots take on roles delivering food, moving supplies, disinfecting patient rooms in hospitals, and monitoring social distancing in communities around the world.
Wired "Google offers to help others with the tricky ethics of AI"
Google plans to launch new AI ethics services that will offer other companies advice on tasks such as spotting racial bias in computer vision systems or developing ethical guidelines that govern AI projects.
Books and Publishing
The Verge "Audible launches a cheaper subscription plan for access to its exclusive podcasts and audio content"
Audible, an Amazon company, is separating its exclusive audio content out into its own plan, Audible Plus, with a cheaper $7.95 monthly subscription that doesn’t include credits to download audiobooks outside its catalog.
Cities and Government
Bloomberg "The rise of work-from-home towns"
The coronavirus pandemic, and the accompanying mass shift to doing white-collar work from home, has led to reports of real estate frenzies in scenic places, raising the profile of micropolitan areas with high percentages of workers who regularly work from home.
CNBC "Ex-Google employees form virtual tech 'school' for gap year students amid college closures"
As growing numbers of students consider taking time off this academic year, new learning opportunities like Xoogler School, named after the internal Google shorthand for ex-employees, are stepping in to offer alternate learning experiences – Xoogler School is run by a group of ex-Google employees and offers students training on roles ranging from engineering to sales.
Brookings "Zoom is now critical infrastructure. That’s a concern"
Following a widespread outage that blocked many users from accessing Zoom on August 24th, a look at how the California-based company has become the foundation for education access from elementary school up through graduate school and the potential vulnerability our current situation has created.
TechCrunch "Facebook News to expand internationally to the U.K., Germany, France, India, and Brazil"
Facebook News, the social network’s dedicated news section launched to U.S. audiences in June, is expanding to international markets, with plans for the U.K., Germany, France, India, and Brazil – as the product expands in these international markets and beyond, the company will face various new laws and regulations that require tech firms like Facebook to pay for news.
TechCrunch "Instagram Guides may soon allow creators to recommended places, products, and more"
Instagram is expanding its recently launched “Guides” feature, which initially debuted in May with a specific focus on wellness content, to allow creators to build out Guides for other types of tips and recommendations, like places or even recommended products.
Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces
The New York Times "Live comedy is back in New York! But outdoors. Is this a good thing?"
While public comedy shows are not yet part of New York's reopening, that hasn’t stopped outdoor performances in gardens, parks, and on rooftops, often produced with little to no advertising - Stand Up NY, an Upper West Side club, has kept comedy shows alive by commandeering space in parks every night in three boroughs, with plans to expand into new parks and a goal of 60 showcases a week, featuring a host and five comics, until it gets too cold in the Fall.
CNBC "Amazon expands grocery business beyond Whole Foods with first Fresh store in Los Angeles"
Amazon will open the first location of its new chain of grocery stores, Amazon Fresh, bringing the e-commerce giant into more direct competition with chains like Kroger and Albertsons while also incorporating some unique high-tech touches like Amazon's recently launched Dash Carts, kiosks equipped with voice-activated Echo Show smart displays, and a dedicated section where customers can pick up amazon.com or grocery orders placed online. See also The Verge "Amazon Go’s cashierless tech may come to Whole Foods as soon as next year"
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Bloomberg "Apple plans augmented reality content to boost TV+ video service"
Apple is reportedly planning to add augmented reality content to its Apple TV+ streaming video service, seeking new ways to attract and retain subscribers and drive interest in AR technology – in the new feature, elements of a TV show, like characters or objects, would be displayed on a viewer’s phone or tablet and integrated into the surrounding environment, a kind of bonus content akin to the director commentary or trailer that accompany a movie download.