International Youth Library –
A world-renowned centre of international children’s literature

Claudia Soeffner, Saturday 13.00-13.30

Within the past six decades, the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library / IYL) in Munich has grown into the world’s largest library for international children’s and young adult literature. Today it offers visitors from Germany and abroad access to its unique collection of almost 600,000 books in about 130 languages. Children of all ages can browse a varied selection of literature in the Lending Library ranging from board books, picture books, and first readers to teenage novels, non-fiction books, and audio books. University students, professors, journalists, librarians, and other children’s literature specialists use the rich array of professional magazines and resource material in the Study Library as well as the collection of children’s books spanning five centuries to work on their research projects.

With reading promotion as one of the library’s most important tasks, exhibitions, author readings, workshops, and conferences are only some of the IYL’s regular activities. Every spring, “The White Ravens”, an annual recommendation list put together by the library’s language specialists, introduces 250 outstanding new children’s books from around the world. Publishers, teachers, librarians, and booksellers, as well as the general reading public use this catalogue as a tool to find high quality titles for possible translations, collection development, school readings, etc. For schools, universities, libraries, and other institutions, “The White Ravens” selection is also available as a travelling exhibition, so that pupils and students outside Munich have the chance to get acquainted with these books in their original language. Therefore, “The White Ravens”, as well as the IYL’s other travelling exhibitions, provide a perfect opportunity to combine literary and language education both inside and outside the classroom.

Claudia Soeffner, a trained bookseller, worked at a children’s bookshop in Erlangen for a few years before she did an MA in English Literature at the LMU Munich. Since 2001 she has been working as the English Language Specialist at the International Youth Library in Munich.