International Youth Library (IJB)


The International Youth Library (registered association) is the largest library of young people's literature worldwide. It was established in 1949 by Jella Lepman and has since grown steadily to become an internationally recognised centre of such literature from around the world.

Since its opening, the library has dedicated itself to promoting international understanding through collecting, processing and distributing young people's literature.

This is achieved in particular through

  • enlarging the collection which contains titles in more than 130 languages
  • opening the collection (which include many items of secondary literature) to users from Germany and abroad, and promoting a professional network in the field
  • emphasising the independence of young people's literature as part of the literary and cultural traditions of the different linguistic areas
  • subsidising translations into German and other languages
  • organising special promotion campaigns on the content, forms and genres of young people's literature by means of events and publications for children and adults
  • promoting the international importance of books and reading for the emotional and intellectual development of young people
  • promoting public interest in young people's literature as an intrinsic part of current cultural developments.

Activities in detail:


The IJB holds many exhibitions in its gallery at Schloss Blutenburg on various subjects: solo exhibitions of illustrators and authors; cross-sections of young people's literature from different countries or cultural areas; exhibitions on current or historical themes for young people's literature

programmes for children

In 1994, the IJB started a programme for children attending all types of schools. In its art and printing studios, children experiment with various forms of conveying texts and promoting reading skills. Pupils may also try out shadow plays, puppet theatre and other forms of 'creative processing' of texts and ideas.

seminars, symposia

The IJB keeps in close touch with promoters of literature (i.e. kindergarten and school teachers, staff of publishing houses, librarians, university lecturers and professors). In order to give them the opportunity to meet colleagues, the IJB organises seminars, symposia, conferences and festivals of literature jointly with other institutions.


Every year, the German Foreign Ministry finances study periods of up to three months at the institute for foreign experts of young people's literature. These guests pursue their own projects and at the same time pass on their special knowledge to the library staff. They help to foster intercultural dialogue and, in particular, to complete those collections that have no in-house editorial staff to look after them.

Historische Kinderbuchgesellschaft (HKG, society of historical children's books)

Founded in 1967, the HKG is an association of experts on historical children's books. In co-operation with the IJB, it organises lectures and supports the library in collecting items.

The 'Reading Museums'

In recent years, the IJB has established three 'reading museums', dedicated to three contemporary German authors, to invite children of all ages to get to know their lives and work in the Erich Kästner Room, the Michael Ende Museum, and the James Krüss Tower. Apart from the many foreign editions, each one of these spaces also contains many personal items which belonged to each author, e.g. manuscript pages, hand-written letters, photos, diaries, pictures and illustrations.

International Youth Library (IJB)


International Youth Library
Schloss Blutenburg
81247 München
Phone: +49 (0)89 89 12 11 0
Fax: +49 (0)89 811 75 53