Oct 21
Oct 21


Jella Lepman: Journalist, Author, Founder of the International Youth Library. A rediscovery

Bavarian State Library / International Youth Library

The founder of the International Youth Library, Jella Lepman, is one of the most influential personalities of German post-war history. Born in Stuttgart in 1891, she emigrated to London in 1936, where she worked for the BBC and wrote a study on Women in Nazi Germany. In 1945, she returned to Germany as part of the United States' re-education program and worked as an "advisor on the cultural and educational needs of women and children" for the American military government.

Jella Lepman wanted to make a contribution to the democratic transformation of society through children and young people. The children's and young people's book seemed to her to be a suitable medium for conveying intercultural understanding and liberal values. In 1946 she opened the "International Exhibition of the Youth Book" at the Haus der Kunst. The founding of the International Youth Library in 1949 was her greatest success and is considered her lasting work. Jella Lepman was its director until 1957. In addition, in 1953 she founded the International Board for Young People (IBBY), an international network for the promotion of children's and young people's literature and reading, which today comprises 75 country sections.

The 70th birthday of the International Youth Library in 2019 and the 50th anniversary of Jella Lepman's death on October 4, 2020 are occasions to rediscover and honor the great merits of this extraordinary woman.  The conference on her life and work will for the first time comprehensively illuminate important and essential aspects of her manifold activities.

Anna Axtner-Borsutzky, PhD student at the Institute for German Philology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Anna Becchi, Autorin, Literature Agend and translator, Genua, Italy

Irene Ferchl, Publicist and cultural journalist, Stuttgart, Germany

Sven Hanuschek, Publicist and Professor at the Institute for German Philology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Michael Hochgeschwender, Professor of North American Cultural History, Empirical Cultural Research and Cultural Anthropology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

David Jacobson, Author und Journalist, Seattle, USA

Oliver Jahraus, Vice President and Professor of Modern German Literature and Media at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Marita Krauss, Professor of European Regional History and Bavarian and Swabian Regional History at the University of Augsburg, Germany

Laura Mokrohs, Research assistant at the Institute for German Philology at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany

Emer O’Sullivan, Professor of English Literature at the University of Lüneburg, Germany

Jörg Probst, PhD in art history, coordinates the interdisciplinary research and teaching platform "Portal Ideengeschichte" at the Philipps University of Marburg, Germany

Caroline Roeder, Professor of literary didactics with a focus on children and youth literature research at the University of Education Ludwigsburg, Germany

Daniel Siemens, Professor of European History at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University in the North East of England

A cooperation of Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek), the Institute for German Philology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (Institut für deutsche Philologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) und International Youth Library Foundation.

Conference Language: German

© Fotos: Stiftung Internationale Jugendbiblilothek