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How to Fact Check! Part 6: Reading Laterally…

…otherwise known as evaluating a website by looking at other websites.

In your travels online, you’ve probably come across websites you’re unfamiliar with. How do you know if you can trust their information?  “About” pages are nice, but they aren’t always an unbiased source of information. So first, you should look to see what other people have said about them.

There are three things you want to figure out:

  1. Process: what kind of fact-checking and verification standards does the publication have?
  2. Expertise: are they informed and qualified on the subject at hand?
  3. Aim: what ends are they trying to promote?

The easiest way to find out about a site is to use a search engine. For example, if you type in a website’s name in google as “sitename -site:sitename”, You’ll only get results that aren’t from the website itself.

For more information, check out Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers! It’s a great free ebook that has all kinds of insightful ways to improve your fact-checking prowess. If you like this series, check it out!

How to Fact Check! Part 5, featuring Spark Media!

When consuming and sharing information, it’s important to Read Between the Lines. Luckily Spark Media has a great video on exactly that.

Here are the highlights:

  • Check the sources.
  • Think about biases: what do the wording and tone suggest?
  • Consider your audience before you repost.

UPDATE: Workshop is postponed. Stay Tuned! Spark Media will be coming to our library on August 13th for an in-depth photography workshop for teens!

Teen Art Lab@ Town of Ulster Library, ages 12-16 years, Friday, August 3 at 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Make T-Shirt Art! 👕🎨
Eat pizza! 🍕
12-16 years only, please 😊

How to Fact Check! Part 4: Evaluating an Article

So you’ve become an expert fact checker, and you come across an article that seems a little suspect. How can you tell if a certain article is legitimate without turning to fact-checking sources like Snopes? A great way to find out for yourself is to look at the way the article itself is formed.

To make things easy, we’ve pulled information from This great article and infographic on Here are some highlights:

  • Make sure the headline matches the content of the article.
  • Make sure there’s an author: if there’s a name, there’s credibility, as you can look up all their past articles with a google search.
  • Look for references and citations.  Make sure the information you take in is backed up by a credible source.
  • Make sure quotes are given in context. You can make anyone say anything with a little selective editing.
  • Does the article sound ridiculous? It probably is. Remember to use your common sense as well as fact-checking tools.

For more information, Check out this blog post from easybib going into greater detail.

Here’s an example of how easy it is to make up news! Make sure you stay critical.


Ukulele Meet Up, this Saturday, July 28th at 9:30 am :)

There is one more Ukulele Meet Up before the group takes a break for the month of August – it’s this Saturday, July 28th at 9:30 am. Come find out about it, and remember: Beginners are welcome and encouraged!

Intergenerational: age 10&up.

This is a group that shares learning with each other. We usually do some folk music, popular music and anything else anyone might want to play… remember beginners are welcome and encouraged!

Direct your questions to Uke Coordinator LYNDA at

Ulster County Volunteer Firemen’s Association Parade – this Saturday, the 28th.

This Saturday is the the Ulster County Volunteer Firemen’s Association Parade! We are told that Ulster Avenue in front of the library will be closed for about an hour and a half beginning at 1 pm, which will prevent through traffic and traffic in and out of the Library’s parking lot. With this in mind, no Town of Ulster Public Library fines will be accrued on Saturday the 28th.
We spoke with someone from Ulster Hose Co.#5 this morning, who let me know that many local engines and vehicles will be on display, sounds like a great day, so enjoy the parade!

Book Talk with Local Author Janet Johnson Schliff July 23rd at 5:30 PM

Book Talk with Local Author Janet Johnson Schliff
July 23rd at 5:30 PM

How Do You Rewrite Your Life’s Script after You’ve Suffered a Massive Brain Tumor? Janet Johnson Schliff was an award-winning special education teacher for 25 years. But, as her abilities began to fade away with no medical explanation, she suffered from obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) behaviors that wreaked havoc on her much-loved teaching career.

A massive brain tumor was discovered, and finally, after brain surgery, the odd behaviors it caused that had ruled her life for years were gone, only to be replaced by a different set of life-long challenges due to her injured brain. Her story will inspire and inform her readers.

Janet holds degrees in special education and education. Her main reasons for writing this book are to try to help other families that have experienced brain injury, a difficult challenge that changes the lives of everyone involved, and to help the community at large understand people with disabilities better. Many of her doctors and therapists are surprised at how well she manages life’s difficulties. A Hudson Valley native, Janet grew up and lived in Red Hook and Rhinebeck and now lives with her Puggle, Happy, in Lake Katrine, NY

Read the article in the Daily Freeman here

Are my holds in yet?

Waiting for a call from the library saying your holds are in? Unfortunately, our automated phone lines are down. They should be back up Thursday, July 26. In the meantime, please call us to find out if your holds have arrived.

BIKE FEST! @ the Town of Ulster Library, Saturday, July 21st, 11- 2 pm


How to Fact Check! Part 3: Reverse Image Search

So we’ve talked a lot about how to tell if a claim made online is fake. But sometimes you don’t have to go to a website to be fooled; social media is filled with doctored and altered images. How can you tell the real pictures from the fake ones?

A good first step is to reverse image search! There are a few different options to do this, but the most commonly used are Google’s reverse Image search and For either website, either save the image you want to check or copy its URL. Then, look for the source! Both search engines look at the vital components of the image, bringing back visually similar pictures. Often, if the picture you saved was doctored,  the original will show up among the results.

Here’s a popular but fake picture.

And here’s the original image, found with reverse image searching.


Reverse image searching won’t always give you a definitive answer, but it’s a good first step toward looking critically at what you consume online. Try it out!