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The International Youth Library is the largest library for international children's and youth literature in the world. Ever since it was opened in 1949 by Jella Lepman, it has been continuously expanded to an internationally recognised centre for the world's children's and youth literature.

Drawing upon its unique collection, the International Youth Library mounts a variety of exhibitions on a wide range of themes every year in the halls of Blutenburg Castle including original works of illustrators, representative surveys of the children's literature of different countries or cultures, and current or historical aspects of children's literature. The exhibitions, which are designed both for adults and children, are usually accompanied by a list of recommended books or a catalogue. For most of them, the library also offers a special programme of activities for school classes.

Some of these exhibitions are also available as travelling exhibitions for showings in public libraries, schools, and other institutions. One of the IYL’s most successful travelling exhibitions to date is "Hello, Dear Enemy!", a selection of international picture books on peace and tolerance, that has been travelling around India, Japan, Europe, and the USA. The updated exhibition, with its new catalogue published in 2006, now presents 80 titles from 20 countries (120 books in total) accompanied by 20 text and picture panels.