Montgomery County Public Libraries To Offer Educational Program on Fake News

The events will take place later this month at branches in Silver Spring, Bethesda and Germantown


Published:

Bethesda Library

Via Library of Congress

Fake news has garnered a considerable amount of media attention in recent months, and Montgomery County’s libraries are looking to help residents find accurate and reliable information online.

In a series of three events, a presenter from the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which is Maryland’s State Library Resource Center, will discuss strategies for identifying fake news and tools to evaluate trustworthiness of sources.

The events will take place at 4 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Silver Spring Library, at 6 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Bethesda Library and at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Germantown Library.

Ryan O’Grady, a presenter from the Enoch Pratt Free Library, said part of the library’s role is to assess information trends and disseminate its best practices to the public. He said he tells people to think about who, what and why when looking at a questionable news story online; for example, consider who the source is, what information is presented and what the motivation may be for presenting that information.

He also recommends mindfulness when looking at news on social media as popularity doesn’t always translate to accuracy.

“There’s no silver bullet; I can’t tell people what is good or what is bad,” O’Grady said. “I’m here to give people the tools to evaluate [the news] for themselves.”

The Enoch Pratt Free Library has presented similar events at libraries in Calvert County and will offer more in other library systems around the state, he said.

The free events at Montgomery County libraries are open to all ages, and O’Grady said they’re a reminder that libraries are always a good source for information.

“I want to drive people to libraries because the staff at any library is an information professional,” he said. “If they want to find what information is authentic or what is reliable, a library is a good place to go.”

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