(c) Internationale Jugendbibliothek
(c) Internationale Jugendbibliothek
Sep 2411.00

Official anniversary celebration

75th Anniversary of the International Youth Library

Blutenburg Castle

On 14 September 1949, the International Youth Library opened its doors as the first library for international children's and youth literature. It was founded by the Jewish journalist Jella Lepman, who wanted her library project to set an example for peace and international understanding after the Second World War and the Holocaust. Her idea was to use children's books to build bridges around the world, bring cultures together to talk to each other and break down prejudices and resentment. Jella Lepman hoped that children and young people brought up in peace and freedom would later build a new, freer and better world order. Books should serve as messengers of peace. "Give us books, give us wings" became her life motto, which repeatedly inspired her in her pioneering work. 

Since its foundation, the International Youth Library has grown into a centre for international children's and young adult literature with a unique archival collection worldwide. To this day, the library still upholds Jella Lepman's vision for building a peaceful and inclusive society. The library's work is based on the conviction that books for children and young people are an indispensable part of a society's cultural life. With a programme of scholarships and conferences on children's book research, international book and illustration exhibitions, events, a literature festival, publications and, last but not least, a wide-ranging literary education programme, the library promotes international cultural exchange and the cultural education of children and young people. 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the International Youth Library: a great reason to celebrate. On 13 September, we want to celebrate the anniversary with a ceremony. The festivities' theme will be children's book heroes, who can also serve as role models for adults in an increasingly brutalised age that favours violence over dialogue.