For immediate release | February 16, 2016

Invite Thomas Paine to your Library and Support Intellectual Freedom

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” -Thomas Paine

CHICAGO – With the help of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), Ian Ruskin, world renowned actor and playwright, is offering advance screenings of his new film to libraries.

To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine, the film, captures a man and his vision of democracy during the birth of our nation. He helped shape our national character and even today inspires us to be better guardians of that legacy. Paine based his beliefs on one simple yet powerful idea, “justice for all.”

Thomas Paine’s book Common Sense was a spark that ignited the American Revolution and remains in print today over 200 years later. Thomas Paine wrote about ideas that were so controversial he was often imprisoned and fined, and almost executed. His works were banned in Europe and anyone who distributed, read or discussed his books faced prosecution. Some were arrested for simply displaying a portrait of Thomas Paine. In the late 1700’s, he fled to the United States where he continued to write about slavery, religion, and independence from British government.

Starting this spring of the Presidential election year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom and Ian Ruskin will offer libraries an opportunity to provide exclusive advance screenings of To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine as a program for their communities before it’s aired on public television. In addition to the film license, libraries are supplied with the DVD format to circulate in their collection and resources to promote and structure the library program. The Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation offer to consult with libraries on additional display and speaker ideas. This is a great opportunity for libraries to support the ALA and Intellectual Freedom, AND they get a program out of it!

The Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is an office of the American Library Association. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries. For more information about OIF, contact the OIF office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.4226, or

For more information: and

The film trailer can be viewed on the OIF blog and YouTube.


Kristin Pekoll

Assistant Director

American Library Association

Office for Intellectual Freedom

(312) 280-4221