IBBY Canada was founded in 1980 by the National Library’s Children’s Literature Librarian Irene Aubrey, Canadian Children’s Book Centre founder Irma McDonough Milnes and Toronto Public Library Children’s Coordinator Ruth Osler. The Canadian Library Association was previously connected with IBBY international until Irene Aubrey started acting as Canada’s official liaison from 1975 to 1980.
IBBY Canada is a membership-based organization with approximately 200 members disseminated across Canada.
An executive committee of thirteen members is responsible for the functioning of the National Section. The executive is generally based in Toronto with four councillors representing the four main regions of Canada: East, Quebec, Ontario and West. Executive members have conference calls four times a year and an Annual General Meeting is held in Toronto. Many of Canada’s children’s book publishers are members of IBBY, several public libraries and some boards of education, in addition to individual children’s books lovers.
IBBY Canada is financially dependant on its membership for its daily operations. In addition, IBBY Canada sometimes receives grants from Canadian funding agencies, such as the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada for nominations to international prizes, and the Honour List and executive members’ attendance of IBBY congresses. The national section has a close collaboration with both the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in Toronto (CCBC) and Communication-Jeunesse (CJ) in Montreal through the executive positions of Liaison Officers.
IBBY Canada administers several awards:
- The Frances E. Russell Award for research and / or publication on Canadian children’s literature
- The Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award for an illustrated book
- The Claude Aubry Award for lifetime achievement in the field of children’s books in Canada
IBBY Canada also has a variety of projects such as the recent travelling picture book exhibition Show and Tell/ Montre et raconte that was shown at the Milnerton Public Library in Cape Town, South Africa during the IBBY Congress in 2004.
The National Library of Canada is now known as the Library and Archives Canada.