Letter from the Director

Dear Library Visitor,

Every day the news media report misunderstandings, intolerance and outright aggression between people from different cultures. Age-old disputes over land, water, religious and cultural practices fuel intolerance. Children absorb the culture and attitudes of their community. Consequently, cycles of intolerance pass from generation to generation. But there is some hope for change: research has shown that sharing personal experiences can change attitudes. Change can happen when children read children's books from other cultures.

Therefore, the mission of the International Children's Digital Library Foundation is to prepare children for life in an ethnically and culturally diverse world by building the world's largest online multicultural repository of children's literature. We have set out to change the world, book by book, byte by byte. We offer free access to exemplary works from more than 42 countries. Our online library can be accessed for free in 11 languages with innovative software that was developed by hearing from young people about their needs, interests, and capacities.  We even have opened our first "Branch Library" in Mongolia to ensure that children in the rural areas can enjoy books of their own culture, as well as those from around the world. And we are saving a great many books that would have otherwise perished due to a lack of space and care.

Of all the Library's accomplishments, we are perhaps most pleased with that fact that we have hundreds of volunteers from around the world who literally "staff" the Library. They identify wonderful books for the Collection; they secure rights; they package and send the books either physically or digitally.  They get the word out to users. In short, they are the Library. Not a day goes by that we, in the Foundation, do not marvel at their good will and industrious commitment.

But we are still far from reaching our goal of providing free online access to tens of thousands of great books for children, our ultimate stakeholders, who would not otherwise have such access. So, if the cause of fighting worldwide illiteracy among children resonates within you, please help us. We have a handsome list of needs: publishers, authors, and illustrators, who can help us work through the many rights issues; enlightened technologists, who can help push the usage of digital technology; librarians, who can help ensure that our policies reflect our noble mission; technology partnerships that will stretch our networks as far as they can reach; and money to make it all work.

We are thankful to each and every library visitor. And we ask you to consider helping by making a donation. Our promise in return: We will not leave any stone unturned in affording around the world children access to the best of children's literature.

Tim Browne (deceased)
ICDL Foundation, Founding Executive Director