Welcome back to our weekly behind-the-scenes peek at what our team has been reading, learning and discussing. Let us know what you think at [email protected].


Big relief

This week, Executive Editor Will Doig brought our attention to a CBS News story about a major move to help out New Yorkers burdened by unpaid medical bills.

will doig

Will says:


The US is the only wealthy country without some kind of universal health care, and medical debt is the most common cause of bankruptcy for Americans. RIP Medical Debt — a group we wrote about a couple years ago — buys up medical debt and then essentially deletes it. New York City partnered with them to make $2 billion in its residents’ medical debt disappear. A brilliant workaround fix for a broken system.

The Guardian logoBeyond books

Editorial Director Rebecca Worby shared a story from the Guardian about European cities that have embraced the library as a community “living room.”

Rebecca Worby Slack avatar Becca says:


I just love these beautiful libraries. I am a big library user but I don’t actually spend a lot of time inside my local libraries. I suspect I would if I lived near one like these.

In fact, we’ve covered this phenomenon here at RTBC, too: Contributing Editor Peter Yeung wrote about Helsinki’s Oodi library for us just over a year ago. 

Oodi Library
Credit: Maarit Hohteri

What else we’re reading

♻️ EU bans ‘misleading’ environmental claims that rely on offsetting — shared by Michaela Haas from the Guardian

🛍️ Plastic bag bans have already prevented billions of bags from being used, report finds — shared by Will Doig from Grist

🐟 The push to save the coho at Dry Creek — shared by Rebecca Worby from Sierra

Elsewhere in our channels…

We’ve enjoyed seeing the responses to Contributing Editor Michaela Haas’ recent story about BookSmiles, a New Jersey-based book bank. “Personally I find that books for children are as essential as any other necessity of life,” writes one reader.