Using the Library


The ICDL is a rich resource which can be used in a wonderfully wide range of situations by children, parents, teachers, librarians and others from all walks of life.  Children can expand upon the stories to create games; parents can extract themes to help explain important lessons; teachers can utilize the multicultural nature of the collection to teach languages; librarians can enrich community outreach programs with tales from around the world and; of course, anyone can just open a book to read for pleasure.

This page is a collection of such activities submitted by you, the members of our ICDL community.  As each of you use the library, please consider sending us a short note describing how you did so. Your activities can help other children foster a love of reading too.

--The ICDL Directors

ICDL Activities

Read for Pleasure: The simplest way to use the ICDL is to just read a book.  Pick one of the featured books from the home page, search books using Simple Search – or the Advanced Search or Location Search at the bottom of the Simple Search page.  Then read away – for free and anonymously.  Or you can create an account to keep a bookshelf of books you like and set various personal preferences.

Digital Story Time: If you have a standard computer projector, then try using it the next time you read a book to children (whether in a library's story time hour, in school, or at home). Simply hook up the projector to your computer, find a book in the ICDL and read with the large projected display. This has the advantage of making illustrations (and words) large enough for everyone to see – and the technical nature of the display is often engaging. To make it work as well as possible, be sure to maximize your browser window (on Windows, try View->Full Screen). And once you get to the book pages within ICDL, click on the icon which will reduce the size of the navigation icons – making more room for the page image.

Scavenger Hunt: It can be fun to learn how to navigate the ICDL and search for books if you are looking for something in particular. So, if you want to teach people how to use it – consider finding a few favorite books, pull out some particular tidbits from those stories – and then ask kids you are teaching to try and find those books based on those tidbits. Or ask more basic questions such as how many books there are in the ICDL from Africa, or even simpler, find a picture book that is short and has a blue cover and report the title and author. See more details for this activity in our teacher training manual.

Complete the Story: Use the first half of any book to inspire children to complete the story. Read the first portion of the book together – then ask children to envision how the story ends by drawing pictures and illustrating them. See more details for this activity in our teacher training manual.

Creative Writing: If you really want to push your creativity, try looking at a picture book in a language you don't understand at all. Then write a story to go along with the pictures.

Learning Languages: Many of the books in the ICDL are available in more than one language. Use these books to study a language you don't know. Use the Advanced Search screen to search for books in two or more languages. Then try reading in the language you are studying. If you aren't sure you understand the page completely, switch that page to the language you do know with the popup menu underneath the page. For example, The Blue Sky is available in English, Croatian, and Italian.

Class Translation: We are hard at work translating the ICDL books.  Our goal is to get every book translated (that we have translation rights for) into at least 100 languages – and we need your help for this.  If you are an expert translator, please volunteer to translate or review the translation of a book. Or if you are a language teacher, consider assigning a translation to your class.  Some teachers have done this by splitting their class in two. Then each half translates one book as a group effort, and when they are done, they review the translation of the other group.  Then when you are done, we can publish the translated books, and we have more for everyone to read.  Be sure to coordinate with our translator volunteer coordinator before you start this so we can get you books that we are ready to have translated.

Link to the ICDL: Help more people learn about the ICDL. Link to the ICDL home page ( or directly to any book from your library, blog, newsletter, or any other website you control.


We have developed a teacher training manual to explain digital libraries and how the ICDL might be used by teachers in their classroom. Please contact us with questions, suggestions, or if you have further ideas about using the ICDL.