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Touring the Toronto Public Library’s IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities

The International Board on Books for Young People has housed a collection for books for young people with disabilities in Norway since 1985. Last year, libraries worldwide bid on hosting the next collection. The Toronto Public Library was selected, and, as of this year, the collection is featured at the North York Central Library branch.

On Nov. 13, members of IBBY and involved TPL staff led a guided tour of the collection, which includes about 4,000 books, both in traditional and accessible formats for young people of varying abilities, and titles featuring themes of disability and characters who are disabled. The collection is for reference only, though many of the books in the collection are also in circulation at the TPL.

The collection receives annual submissions from IBBY’s 76 member countries, and compiles a bi-annual shortlist of about 50 outstanding titles. The 4,000 books now at the North York Central Library are all catalogued in the TPL system and will rotate through being shelved, while still owned by IBBY. (In Norway, the books were catalogued on a school library system, so less publicly accessible.)

The mandate of this collection, “for and about” young people with disabilities, is to “encourage production, promotion and dissemination” of such materials. They are also used as a teaching tool; for example, this January there will be a professional development opportunity for TPL children’s librarians hosted at the North York Central branch.

The 2015 collection, which will be revealed at a press conference in March for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, will come from submissions of books from the past four years, or outstanding books that are not in previous collections. Publishers and individuals are welcome to suggest books to be nominated to IBBY Canada, who will put forward official nominations along with other IBBY national sections.

Here are a few highlights from the IBBY collection: