In November 2000 Buckinghamshire County Council Library Service
received approval from the European Commission to lead a digitisation and education
project that would centre around the creation of a Web site dedicated to the preservation
and promotion of early children's book collections from across Europe.
The project, entitled CHILDE (Children’s Historical Literature Disseminated
throughout Europe) was developed in collaboration with the County Council's European Team
and involves a number of other partners:
- Dublin City Public Libraries, Dublin, Ireland
- Institut fur Jugendbuchforshung, Frankfurt, Germany
- International Youth Library, Munich, Germany
- Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, The Netherlands
- La Baracca: Testoni Ragazzi, Bologna, Italy
- National Centre for Research in Children’s
Literature, University of Surrey, Roehampton, England
- Wandsworth Borough Council Library Service, London, England
Click here for further information on the partner organisations.
There has also been specialist support provided by the Higher Education Digitisation
Service based at the University of Hertfordshire, England.
Click here for further information about the digitisation
The project received 107,506 Euros from the European Commission’s Culture 2000
programme. This enabled the creation of 1,000 digitised images from the partners’
collections of early children's books. These images are displayed on a specially created
Web site. In addition, an education programme related to the Web site and the collections
of the partner organisations has been created, along with a European model of best
practice for the physical preservation, cataloguing and promotion of historical
Click here for further information about the Best Practice
Mike Ryan, Project Manager and Esther Gregory, Project Co-ordinator, have worked with
the European partners to progress the project via e-mail, discussion lists and
The CHILDE project, culminated on 19th October 2001 with a
major European conference at Green Park, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, England. This provided
the opportunity to launch the completed Web site, containing the digitised images, and
meet with like minded professionals to discuss the future of CHILDE.
Click here for further information about
the conference proceedings.
The project has already provoked wider European interest. The
Swedish Institute for Childrens Books in Stockholm, the Centre for Children’s
Literature in Copenhagen and the National Centre for Youth Literature in Antwerp are
Knowledge about the existence of collections is very partial. It is
known that a number of important collections exist in Eastern Europe and that many private
and publicly owned collections are to be found elsewhere. The foundations of a European
network for historic children's book collections from across Europe was unveiled at the
European conference allowing these organisations to benefit from and exchange views with
other collection holders.
The long term importance of this project will be to develop links
between these collections, rescuing some from obscurity, and by using 21st century technology, make the history, glory and value of
children's literature in Europe accessible to today's and future generations.
Mike Ryan, Project Manager
Esther Gregory, Project Co-ordinator