The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

This library without books is a hit with readers

Visitors use computers at BiblioTech, a first of its kind digital public library in San Antonio. (Eric Gay/Associated Press)

Here’s a look at five ideas that could impact the way we live, work and play.

1. A library without books. Bexar County (Texas) opened the nation’s only bookless public library, writes the AP:

San Antonio is the nation’s seventh-largest city but ranks 60th in literacy, according to census figures. Back in the early 2000s, community leaders in Bibliotech’s neighborhood of low-income apartments and thrift stores railed about not even having a nearby bookstore, said Laura Cole, BiblioTech’s project coordinator. A decade later, Cole said, most families in the area still don’t have WiFi.
Residents are taking advantage now. The library is on pace to surpass 100,000 visitors in its first year. Finding an open iMac among the four dozen at BiblioTech is often difficult after the nearby high school lets out, and about half of the facility’s e-readers are checked out at any given time.

2. Set your conference room temperature near 68 degrees to keep everyone alert.

That’s the strategy Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg uses, as cited in a good read from The Wall Street Journal on his increased focus on the bottom line.

3. Be wary of getting caught up in the hype of emotional intelligence. From the Atlantic: 

Emotional intelligence is important, but the unbridled enthusiasm has obscured a dark side. New evidence shows that when people hone their emotional skills, they become better at manipulating others. When you’re good at controlling your own emotions, you can disguise your true feelings. When you know what others are feeling, you can tug at their heartstrings and motivate them to act against their own best interests.

4. Information carbohydrates. Matt Mullenweg uses the term to refer to online content that’s exactingly crafted and presented in a manner to help it go viral. Upworthy has received plenty of attention lately for its incredible success. Consumers are increasingly reading the stories their contacts share on social networks. But because a story is widely shared is it actually the best story?

If something isn’t great it’s usually met with silence. But sometimes something that is great is met with silence too if it doesn’t drop at the right time, have the right headline, or have the right tone to invite interaction. There is no predictable connection to the effort and thought you put into something and the response it receives, and every experienced blogger has a story of something they spend a few minutes on and toss out casually going viral.

5. Rituals and routines are great for those with dementia. From the Atlantic:

Perhaps Theresa Klein’s most important insight into dementia care concerns the power of ritual, and it came from the care of her own grandfather. As his dementia progressed, he became less alert and more confused. A devout Catholic, however, he kept attending weekly Mass. Though Theresa’s father was nearly mute much of the time, at services he happily recited familiar prayers and joined in the hymns.