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May 2019 Library Tech Newsbytes

This month we offer news about the new Emilio Estevez movie The Public, the new #Booklover Community, how the Tel Aviv Library became a tech incubator, the New York University City Health Dashboard to find out how your community is doing, the ultimate glossary of social media words every librarian should know, and the latest puzzling Pew Research on why we get our news from social media. We hope you enjoy our curious batch of Newsbytes this time around!

My Review of the Feature Film The Public

There are not that many feature films set in public libraries, but Emilio Estevez' new film, The Public, certainly is. The action takes place at the main branch of Cincinnati's public library during a freezing winter cold snap. Homeless patrons refuse to leave at night, causing a standoff with police. Estevez plays a librarian social worker struggling to solve the problem. There's much more to the movie than that little description, though. The film opened in theaters nationwide on April 5 and has gotten a very high audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I just saw it and have to say that it really is a touching, wonderful movie. It's a tribute to libraries and librarians everywhere. If it has already left your movie theater (or never got there), let me suggest a screening at your library when it comes out on DVD.

The New #Booklover Online Community

TechSoup for Libraries special contributor Megan Keene reports that In the Stacks is building a free online platform that leverages the expertise of book-reviewing librarians and brings that skill out of the library to users online. Their #Booklover community will unite like-minded readers in a forum to discuss books they love, recommend related reads, trade books, and find literary events. Sign up to beta test their new app here.

The Library as a Tech Startup Incubator

Anythink Libraries published a nice piece on a library programing innovation called Breaking the Silos. The article talks about Tel Aviv Library in Israel turning itself into a tech startup incubator. When Tel Aviv's public library system began to notice a sharp decline in use at one of its libraries in the city's main business district, it decided to make some changes. In 2011, the library staff changed its downtown branch in a way that could benefit Tel Aviv's thriving entrepreneurial community in a meaningful way — turning it into a startup incubator.

Early-stage startups can use the library as their primary headquarters. Those selected incubator startups have access not only to amenities like meeting rooms and dedicated employee space, but also to a variety of tools to help them launch into a successful venture. This includes everything from pitch workshops to high-profile meetups where famous tech entrepreneurs from around the world visit and share their experiences and recommendations.

The New York University City Health Dashboard

The City Health Dashboard is a free online research tool developed by New York University. The service offers information on 36 different factors that affect the health of residents in 500 U.S. cities. Find a great article on the easy-to-use service in HealthITAnalytics.

The tool mainly provides information on the social determinants of health, including poverty, crime, housing, school, demographic, unemployment, and income inequality stats. It also has current information on environmental factors like park access, walkability, lead exposure, air pollution, and access to healthy food. It also covers high risk indicators like binge drinking, smoking, and teenage pregnancy rates. For those interested in policy, the website has a resources section that provides examples of evidence-based programs that have proven effective for improving health in our communities.

Social Media Definitions: The Ultimate Glossary of Terms Every Librarian Should Know

Social media in its many forms has generated its own specialized language and acronyms. HubSpot recently published a comprehensive dictionary of them. If you're not quite sure what an application programming interface (API) is, or an engagement rate, or the art of newsjacking, or what link building is, check out HubSpot's Ultimate Glossary here.

Pew Research: Puzzling Social Media News Trends

As the news frenzy continues to not die down, we thought it interesting to visit the latest Pew Research information on how Americans are using social media to get their news. Here's what they found:

  • Two-thirds of Americans now get their news on social media.
  • They expect this news to be inaccurate.
  • Inaccuracy is the top concern Americans bring up about information on social media.

Strange syllogism, eh?