Friday, May 15, 2009

1.4 million free Ayn Rand books in U.S. classrooms

Here's an email I received from the Ayn Rand Institute recently. I felt it was worth copying in complete form because of its wonderful message and information.
Dear Contributor:

Since the first of the year, you've read a great deal about the work that ARI has done--primarily through the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights--to bring public attention to the economic and political problems facing our country.

Our work on that front continues--and I will continue to update you, through letters and e-mails, on the great strides we are making in ensuring that Ayn Rand's ideas are given increased consideration among policy-makers and the media.

But while we are all preoccupied with the news of the day, and the ever-increasing assaults on freedom and capitalism coming from Washington, ARI has continued to keep the long-term picture in clear focus.

Even as ARC has capitalized on an unprecedented public and media interest in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, and her ideas, ARI is completing what appears to be another marvelously successful year in our efforts to introduce young readers to Ayn Rand's novels.


As of this writing, the total number of copies of Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged shipped to classrooms this school year is 342,984. This represents a 17 percent increase over last year's total of 293,295--and represents a new all-time record for the program.

Since we inaugurated the Free Books to Teachers program with a pilot program in late 2002, the success of the program has been truly staggering. Adding the results above to the results from previous years, we can report the following for the lifetime of this program:

* More than 1.4 million copies of the novels have been sent to teachers.

* More than 30,000 teachers have participated in the Free Books to Teachers program since its inception.

* Ayn Rand's novels are being taught in an estimated 40,000 high school classrooms in the United States and Canada.

* And because many of the novels are read in subsequent years by new groups of students, we now estimate that a total of nearly four million students have been introduced to Ayn Rand's novels since this project began.

These achievements would not have been possible without the continued financial backing of our donors; so I thank you once again for your support of this program.


Nearly every day we hear from teachers participating in the Free Books to Teachers program. Below are a few comments from the more than 300 we received from teachers this year. These are the impressions of teachers actually using the novels in their classrooms.

Their remarks, I believe, eloquently attest to the real impact that this program is having on students.

My students primarily come from lower-socio-economic homes and would have never had the chance to engage in such a rich lesson during these hard economic times when money for books is not available to us. I have seen a true personal and educational growth as students learn about Ayn Rand's philosophy through her characters, plot, and the lessons provided for us.
--Bakersfield, CA

The Fountainhead started out as a road to the essay contest and college funds for my seniors, but has become so much more. The critical thinking and literary engagement that has come from reading this text is of amazing worth! . . . Rand was an amazing author; her texts are timeless.
--Baltimore, MD

I have never seen my students so excited about reading a book. Tenth graders who have refused to read any of the books that we've done so far finished reading Anthem weeks before it was required. Students who read The Fountainhead came in everyday to tell me how excited they were about the book. . . . Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
--Springville, UT

Thanks! Please keep this amazing program going! Over the past 7 years I have introduced over a 1,000 students to the work of Ayn Rand through the use of these books . . . I know it has helped to produce some exceptional debaters and influenced the writings of countless students. THANK YOU!
--Hope Mills, NC

I'm sure that you hear it all the time; however, I must tell you that my students cannot stop talking about Anthem. In fact, one student read it seven times! We have had some fascinating group discussions.
--Cocoa, FL

Thank you so much for the copies of Anthem and The Fountainhead. Our students will greatly benefit from the instruction of Ayn Rand's contributions to world literature, and her enduring message of the triumph of the individual against all restrictive systems.

In an age of repetitive sound and thought, it is certainly a privilege to have Ayn Rand's books in America's classrooms.
--Laurel, MS

I am so appreciative of the Institute's generosity and concern for education. I have been using the book for the past 5 years and will continue to do so in the future. I truly believe that the lessons learned from reading the book are totally applicable to the direction that our society seems to be moving in. Students enjoy reading the book and discussing how it is applicable to their lives, today. Once again, thank you for all that you do in providing an invaluable service to our students.
--Rosemont, PA


At the beginning of this letter, I alluded to the work we are doing at the Ayn Rand Center to combat the immediate challenge we face in Washington.

Make no mistake--the immediate challenges we face are severe.

But these challenges--among them the unprecedented intrusions of government into nearly every conceivable sector of our economy--represent a symptom, albeit an alarming one.

So while we will fight on the level of immediate, concrete political symptoms--and with ARC we have never been better able to do so--we must continue to treat the underlying disease of collectivism and unreason. The political battles must be fought now; but the culture must be repaired in the long term.

Through the Free Books to Teachers program; our essay contests (which have set new all-time records this year); the continued growth and success of the OAC and the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship, we are continuing to work to address the fundamental, underlying problems that have led us to the political challenges we currently face.

It's for this reason that I hope that I can count on your continued--and if possible, increased--support, as we prepare for the eighth year of the Ayn Rand Institute's Free Books to Teachers program, and the 25th year of our annual essay contests.

Your continued and increased support will allow us to continue to tackle both the immediate problems--and ultimately, cure the underlying causes.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and your support.


Yaron Brook
President and Executive Director

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