Many young people with disabilities cannot read or enjoy a regular book, or they cannot find a suitable book among the many publications available. Therefore they need specially produced books or selected regular books of literary and artistic quality that meet their special needs regarding design, language, plot structure and pictures.
The IBBY Collection located at the Toronto Public Library features a large international selection of books for and about young people with disabilities. The books are chosen by the IBBY National Sections, as well as by independent experts and publishers.
Highlights of the Collection include:
• books in over 40 languages
• special formats such as Blissymbolics, PCS, Braille, sign language, tactile and textile books
• fiction books that portray children and teens with disabilities as characters in stories and novels
• books for adults with developmental delays, language disabilities or reading difficulties
The Collection offers:
• a variety of books for hands-on experiences in the library
• research opportunities in the development and evolution of children’s and young adult's literature in this specialized field
• inspiring examples of book design and construction in unique formats
• ideas and booklists for teachers, parents, caregivers and librarians
• outstanding books in the field for authors and illustrators to study
History and Access
The IBBY Collection was established in 1985 as the IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People at the Norwegian Institute for Special Education at the University of Oslo, under the direction of Nina Askvig. In 2002 Heidi Boiesen took over as Director and the collection moved to the Haug Municipal School and Resource Centre (HSRC) in Baerum, just outside Oslo.
In 2013 the complete IBBY collection of books and documentation moved to the Children’s Department of the North York Central Library at Toronto Public Library and re-opened to the public in early 2014.
Online access to the IBBY Collection can be made through www.torontopubliclibrary.ca and is searchable by title, author, subject, format, keyword and language. Follow the North York Central Library Blog for the 2015 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities here.
Every two years the IBBY National Sections nominate books for young people with disabilities to be added to the Collection. A selection of Outstanding Books (approximately 50) is then made and this selection is summarized in a catalogue. Print copies of the annotated catalogues, past and present, can be ordered from the IBBY Secretariat. The print catalogues are also available online as pdfs. Download pdf Catalogue 2013 here. Earlier catalogues can be found in the IBBY Archives.
The current IBBY selection of outstanding books is available through the IBBY Secretariat for exhibitions, conferences and book fairs.
An exhibition and seminar was held in Sharjah at the Al Manal Forum 2014 with guest speaker Heidi Boiesen, Former Director of the IBBY Documentation Centre. Please click here for a brief report of the event (pdf).
Articles and Papers
• Bookbird, volume 2013/4 Letters: The IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People: A Short Overview by Heidi Boiesen
• Bookbird special issue: Books for Children with Disabilities, volume 39, 2001/1
• Can Books Make a Difference? Heidi Boiesen, 2004, Cape Town, South Africa
• Knowing Your Neighbours – The Special Children Heidi Boiesen, 2013, Bali, Indonesia
• Read more about the history of the Centre in an article by Tordis Ørjasæter that appeared in the journal IBBY Norway - 50 Years! here
The Typhlo & Tactus organization was created to increase the quantity, quality and availability of books with tactile illustrations for young children with little or no sight. For more information go to www.tactus.org
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