From Press of Atlantic City, January 23, 2022. Caption of photo states: “The Atlantic City Free Public Library partnered with “Friends In Action” to senior complexes in the city”. Among those in the photo are “library staff member Allissa Barrow, Digital Inclusion Project Coordinator Elizabeth Trigg, Library Director Robert Rynkiewicz, and ‘Friends in Action’* President Anthony Brower”.
*This “Friends In Action” is “Friends In Action, Inc.”, a non-profit corporation of New Jersey that has not reported its activities to Guidestar.org. It is not affiliated with “Friends In Action”, the that is not affiliated with “Friends In Action International”, the Christian missionary group that promotes Christian schools and clean water projects in Africa. It is not affiliated with the “Friends In Action” social group of Durham, New Hampshire or the “Friends In Action” that serves disadvantaged senior citizens in Ellsworth, Maine.
How many things are wrong with this picture? What key facts are missing from this “mainstream” news story?
From the Press of Atlantic City Article: Since December, 2021, the Atlantic City Free Public Library, in partnership with the T-Mobile Company and city non-profit organizations, has distributed Android tablets to low-income households who lack access to connected devices and broadband access and broadband access to the internet, and to city nonprofit organizations to give to their clients, as part of the library’s Atlantic City Digital Inclusion Project. As of mid-January, the library had distributed all 1,000 of the tablets it had received. There was no cost to those who received tablets. The project is part of the “Emergency Connectivity Fund Program” established by the Federal Communications Commission to provide funding for libraries for the purchase of connected devices and broadband connections for use by students and library patrons. The tablets came pre-loaded with icons for the library’s website. The project is scheduled to end June 30, when devices are due to be returned to library. Full Press article without photo posted at Community helpers | Latest Headlines | pressofatlanticcity.com
- How much extra does T-Mobile charge its customers to pay for this give-away program? If a thousand tablets cost T-Mobile only $30 wholesale, the cost of the program is far more than the $30,000 cost of the tablets. T-Mobile has to hire expensive lobbyists, program managers, and staff throughout the country to negotiate and run these programs in every city.
- How much does this program cost Atlantic City taxpayers? How much staff besides its “Digital Inclusion Project Coordinator” applies for grants to get “free” stuff like this, and then find and work with “non-profit organizations” to give away?
- What were the qualifications to get the “free” tablets? How many “low income” recipients wanted or needed them? How many will actually use them? How many already have smart phones? How many “low income” seniors have disposable income for pricey cable TV packages, casino slots, restaurant dinners or other entertainment that cost far more then the $80 retail price of most tablets?
- What type of “non-profit” organization is “Friends in Action”? How did Atlantic City’s public library pick them to give away the tablets? This organization also distributed free toys donated by local charities last Christmas, and free food paid for with COVID coronavirus relief funds. Guidestar, Inc. has no information for this charity. Are any of its officers or volunteers paid? If so, who provides the funding? How do they decide who gets the free food, toys, and tablets? Are any of its officers or volunteers active in political campaigns?
- Why is the Federal Government’s “Emergency Connectivity Fund Program” forcing cell phone companies to charge their customers extra so that “low income households” get tablets that give them information from Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter? These are platforms that suppress information from conservative sources like us, and promote the agendas of “woke” socialists and Democrats.
- What is the function of public libraries today? In the days of Benjamin Franklin in the 1700’s, they were to give poor people access to books that only the rich could afford to educate themselves. That was still their main purpose in the 1900’s when steel industry billionaire Andrew Carnegie gave away his fortune to build public libraries throughout the country. Many poor people like science fiction writer Ray Bradbury got the equivalent of college educations by reading the textbooks and other books used by colleges. But what is the function of public libraries today? Do local libraries have any reference books that are not available online? How much of what public libraries do today duplicate the services of public school and college libraries? How much of their resources are used to distribute movies, entertainment videos and video games? How much of their budgets are used to sponsor events that have nothing to do with reading and self-education which got government to pay for public libraries in the first place?
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