About us

The International Youth Library is the world’s largest library for international children’s and youth literature. Founded in 1949 by Jella Lepman, it has grown to become an internationally recognized centre for children’s and youth literature.

Our work is guided by the conviction that children’s and young adult books are an essential part of the cultural life of a society and a country, and as such must be preserved, documented and shared. We particularly care about the promotion of international cultural exchange and the cultural education of children and young adults.


The International Youth Library is dedicated to supporting international children’s and youth literature through collection, cataloguing, and outreach efforts. The library’s mission is the preservation of cultural diversity as it is manifested in the world’s literature.

The central task of the library is to promote global children’s and youth literature of high aesthetic and literary quality and of significance for cultural literacy.

The Library devotes itself to this task through an annual programme of exhibitions, author readings, workshops, panel discussions, presentations, conferences, and an international literature festival.

The exhibition catalogues and international recommendation lists that the Library publishes are aimed at a specialist audience, while the children’s books it publishes are designed to broaden children’s cultural horizons.

An extensive range of workshops devoid of curricular learning objectives are offered to school classes, after-school clubs, and youth groups to show children and young adults that literature can be meaningful, enriching, and entertaining.

The Library’s international book holdings and historical collections are available to researchers from Germany and abroad for scholarly use. A fellowship programmefor foreign researchers supports research in the area of international children’s and youth literature and illustration, while also encouraging scholarly exchange and international cooperation.