News, fake news, and being a good info consumer

Fake news has been in the “real news” lately.   How do we tell the difference between the two?

There’s a difference between fake news and news with a bias.  News with a bias is presenting the news through a particular lens or filter.  Fake news is news that is fabricated to generate “clicks” by writing stories that go viral.

What are some ways you can become a more careful reader of the news (or help your family members do the same?)

Librarian Joyce Valenza has some great suggestions!

  • Check the URL.  Is it a real one or does it just look “similar” to a real site?
  • Just using Google may not help.  Fake news stories spread like wildfire, so just using Google to decide may not help.
  • “Suspect the sensational.”  If it appears to be outlandish, it is possibly untrue.  Be skeptical.  Check it against several well known mainstream news sources to see if they are reporting the story also.  Conspiracy stories often are often used as “click bait” to get users to a site for money making purposes.
  • Verify the story.   Check Snopes.com or Factcheck.org to see if they are flagging this story as false.
  • Decide if this story has a built in bias.  Does it seem aimed at readers with a particular view point?  This might indicate a fake news story, or it might just be a biased story.  Again, look at the url or “about” page.
  • Go back to the original. If a news story mentions a study or a poll, try to find the original yourself.  Did that study have a bias? Does it even exist? Is it from a recognized reputable source?
  • Think before you RT or “Share.”   Did you do take any of the steps above first?  Don’t spread fake news yourself!

When you share more reliable stories, you appear more reliable to others!   You can help stop fake news in its track by pointing it out to others or refusing to reshare it.

Translate this post into the language of your choice: https://translate.google.com/

Best books of the year

readers-awardThe GoodReads Best Books of 2016 list is here!  Looking for some good reading over the winter break?  Check out these recommendations from readers just like you on GoodReads.

One of my favorites made the list– Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.   While it was not quite the plot I wanted because of the twist it took with Harry’s son, it was great to be immersed in Harry Potter land again and feel the familiar voices.   Another one of my favorites, The Crown, by Kiera Cass, made the runners up list.  We also enjoyed Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo (though maybe Apollo was a little too whiny) and his new book Magnus Chase and Sarah Maas Court of Mist and Fury are already big hits in the library.

I’ve also got Underground Railroad on my own Christmas list!  Check out the list and runners-up here and get your reading on!

Help us pick a name!

The tech support desk has moved out of the Juice Bar and is now located near the office in the former attendance office.  But now it needs a new name!

Vote for 3 of the names in the list below and help us pick a new one!

Election Day info

vote-displayTuesday November 8th is election day!

 Voting locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  You can find locations near you on the Travis County Clerk’s website.  Nearby locations are Hill Country Middle School, Randall’s, Bridgepoint Elementary and Laura’s Library.    If you are in line at 7 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.  The website shows wait times also!

If you need information about candidates, check out the League of Women Voter’s web page.  The WHS library also has a sample ballot available if you’d like to look at one.

Be aware that the Texas voter ID laws are under challenge.  You can bring i.d. like your Texas driver’s license, passport, or Texas i.d. to vote.  However, if you do not have one of those, there are other items you can bring that show proof of address.  Check out votetexas.gov to find out what you can use to show or ask Mrs. Foote in the library for more info.  You do not HAVE to bring your voter registration card but it is helpful.

For valid info throughout the election, use sites like Factcheck.org, CSPAN, NPR, etc.  Remember to verify information you read online in  more than one type of source.  If you see it on Twitter or Facebook, check another neutral website or watch the news to see if it is confirmed for the most accurate info.

As we approach the election, poll information can be found here:
FiveThirtyEight — pollster Nate Silver’s analysis of the polls
RealClearPolitics — summary of the polls and electoral college
New York Times polls — summaries of trends, polls, state polls

And for Tuesday, some helpful sites to use on Election Night:

Interactive Electoral College map — as states are announced, click on them to figure out totals for the night.
Poll Closing Times by state — hover over the map to find the closing times
Poll Closing Times in Eastern Time

Want to Snapchat, FB, or Tweet your way through the election?  Want to see the election from the point of view of drones?  Check out all the ways social media is covering the news on Election Night!

And on Wednesday, the library will host a lunchtime “post-Election” discussion during both lunches in the Mentorship room.  There will be snacks!

Banned Books, Contests and more…

star-trekThe library has been busy this fall with classes, teacher workshops, and contests and trivia!  We celebrated Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, conducted Banned Books week trivia contests, ran a Halloween candy counting contest and held a Maker exploration with Little Bits!

Congratulations to the winner of our Banned Books contest, Xinyang Wang,  and our Halloween contest, Ian Blair and Pierce Rollison!

The last month we have held three lunchtime Debate discussions to have civil discussion of the issues in the debates!  Joindebate us on November 9th for a post-election wrap up discussion at both lunches.

Check out our current display of Presidential cartoons from history, too!

Welcome back!

Welcome back, Chaps!   Mrs. Foote, Mrs. Clifton and Mrs. Lloyd want to welcome you back to the library!  Come check out what’s new!

ngc learning commons1–New furniture in the NGC Learning Commons, thanks to the advice of our Interior Design classes and the support of PTO!   Hope this will make the space more comfortable and useful for you!   It includes a new  area called the Story Bar, where you can have small snacks (at student request!) or check out bestselling books!

–New Business Incubator — The Business Incubator is home for our new “Shark Tank” Business Incubator class.  Check it out as you pass by or sign up for the class next year!apps

–New apps on iPads — If you check in the Self Service app, under “Reference” there are many research apps for you.  Connect to research sites easily by using these apps.  Also check out shortcuts to the library catalog and EasyBib right on your home screen.

We are here to help you–whether you need something good to read, a calculator for Physics, color printing, or research help!  Let us know how we can help you.

Congratulations, Seniors!

A little “nerd” advice from the library as you move out into the world!

  1.  Don’t forget to read.  The world is wide and long and deep.  Learn more about it.
  2.  Bring your curiosity with you.
  3.  Ask for help when you need it.
  4. Librarians are good at providing help.  So are libraries.  They are safe sanctuaries when you are peaceful and when you are lonely, and when you want to meet people or when you want to be alone.
  5. Be open to learning.   We never stop learning.
  6. Don’t judge yourself for what you don’t know.  Just try to find out.
  7. In college, if you need to know something/anything — don’t forget librarians are there just to help you.
  8. Work with integrity.   Honor the work of others, and honor your own integrity.   It matters.
  9. Find out what is your passion and what makes you tick.  There’s a world of learning around that.
  10. Remember you are loved.  Someone, somewhere loves you.  Not for your success or achievement, but just for who you are – the way you think or talk or smile.  And remember, your Westlake Family loves you.

Congratulations!  Whether your journeys are quiet or large, be the best version of yourself.  Safe travels!

 

Author Asher Price coming April 28th!

thThe library will be hosting Austin Statesman writer Asher Price, author of the new book entitled Year of the Dunk, on April 28th during 3rd period!   He will be speaking to English classes and basketball students, but other students are welcome to attend.

In Year of the Dunk, Asher Price writes about his decision to “train” himself to dunk a basketball in his 30’s.  Along the way, he explores physics, genetics and the history of basketball in his humorous efforts to train himself to successfully dunk the ball.

Besides publishing books, Asher Price is the environmental reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, writing about water, endangered species and politics in Central Texas.

The library will have some of Price’s books available for sale and autographing!

New computers are here!

new computer new computer3We are thrilled to say that our computers in the main library were replaced last night thanks to our amazing Tech team who came in after school to swap out all the computers!

You should find much faster speeds with the new machines — and we are all about you getting your work done more easily.  Let the library staff know if you have any problems!

Welcome Veronica Roth!

Vernoica Roth flyer twitWe are so thrilled to welcome Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, who is coming to WHS  March 8!

Come by and meet her or get a book autographed from 8-8:40 next Tuesday in the NGC Learning Commons!

There are books for sale in the library, and you can bring your own book for an autograph if you also purchase one!  Check at the front desk for order forms!     veronica roth

Curious about the Divergent series and the reasons behind it?  Check out Veronica’s Tumblr here!