Establishing a Section of IBBY


The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) wants to encourage the establishment of National Sections in all parts of the world in order to bring books and children together. Books for children and young people play an essential role in their education and upbringing. By bringing to the young a wider knowledge of other countries, books can develop international understanding and good-will and thus serve the cause of peace.


A group of persons or organizations within a country, whose interests relate to the development of books for the young and whose aims are compatible with those of IBBY, may organize a National Section and thereby qualify as a member. No nation may have more than one National Section. While a National Section need not be governed by statutes, it must justify its representation by its composition. Ideally, the Section should represent all aspects of children‘s literature: publishers, authors, illustrators, librarians, booksellers, educators, researchers and government officials involved with book promotion. In some countries the IBBY National Section is the only official promoter of children‘s books. In other countries the Sections work with many other organizations on a national level.

What for?

General objectives for National Sections can be formulated as follows:

  • promote original, indigenous literature for children and young people
  • improve the quality of books for children and young people
  • increase the number and propagate the use of such books
  • encourage the interest of the general public and of cultural institutions in artistic creation for children and in work with book


Suggested national activities include:

  • review and criticize books written for children and young people, selecting the outstanding ones and explaining the problems and shortcomings of the others
  • compile annual lists of recommended books; lists can be distributed free to schools and libraries for the information of teachers, librarians and parents
  • grant prizes for excellency of writing, illustration and translation
  • set up book exhibitions
  • organize seminars on different aspects of children‘s literature in order to exchange views and find ways to obtain better native literature for children and adolescents
  • issue information and publicity materials for members (circulars, journals)
  • encourage the interest of the general public in children‘s books through all available mass media
  • write and publish professional books and articles on children‘s literature in order to widen the understanding and knowledge of the general public, and particularly those who are involved with children‘s books
  • organize competitions in painting and creative writing to stimulate and encourage the reading habit of young people
  • set up a research library on children‘s literature in order to assist individuals interested in this field of study and to acquaint publishers with internationally best literature for children and young people
  • cooperate with the publishing industry, authors and illustrators, trying to find together the concrete ways of collaboration towards the promotion of original literature. Such ways differ from country to country, depending on the level of cultural and reading habits, the importance of local languages etc.
  • cooperate with international organizations and professional associations whose attitudes in matters of royalties, co-productions, special projects, etc. are of great importance (e.g. UNESCO)
  • cooperate with government and municipal authorities and private organizations in order to develop public libraries for children
  • cooperate with schools, governments and municipal authorities and private organizations to develop school libraries
  • cooperate with educational institutions in the training of librarians and teachers in order to familiarize them with methods of promoting interest in reading among children and young people

And how?

Suggested international activities include:

  • cooperate with the Executive Committee, the Secretariat and other National Sections of IBBY. Two delegates are to be appointed to ensure liaison
  • participate in the biennial Congress and General Assembly of IBBY. Possibility to organize an IBBY Congress and participate in other international conferences, seminars, meetings and exhibitions
  • propose candidates for IBBY‘s Executive Committee
  • contribute to IBBY‘s quarterly Bookbird by appointing a correspondent with the responsibility to communicate news, lists of books recommended for translation and articles on children‘s literature
  • propose candidates for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards (one author and one illustrator)
  • nominate authors, illustrators and translators for the biennial IBBY Honour List
  • propose candidates for the Hans Christian Andersen Jury
  • promote International Children‘s Book Day around 2 April, with the materials received from the sponsoring section. Possibility to take over international sponsorship
  • cooperate with national commissions of international organizations (e.g. UNESCO, UNICEF)

Who does what?

Depending on the needs of each country, the work within a section can be managed in a functional way through committees, e.g.:

1. Book reviewing

2. Research library

3. Publications

4. Public relations

5. Cooperation with municipal and school libraries

6. Teaching of children‘s literature

How to budget?

The National Sections need money to pay, to a varying degree, for their national activities and for maintaining an office if an existing organization does not function as its secretariat. They furthermore need money to pay their international dues to IBBY and for participation of members in IBBY‘s international activities. The National Sections are advised to consider the following sources of income to meet their financial commitments:

1. Membership fees

2. Private donations

3. Government support, e.g. for regular payment of dues or for specific projects, e.g. exhibitions, research projects, etc.

4. Cooperation with the National Commission of UNESCO for assistance in special projects, e.g. seminars, exhibitions, etc.

5. Honorary work

6. Profit-making activities, such as sale of publications and advertising space, sale of posters, stickers, bookmarks, etc.

The ideal goal would be to establish the National Section as independent as possible, at the same time involving governmental and private organizations in a way that would enable the National Section to work with maximum efficiency but independent of outer influences.

Further Information:

IBBY Secretariat: