The Estonian Section of IBBY (The International Board on Books for Young People) was first founded in 1993 and re-established in 2003.
IBBY Estonia is a non-profit organization with 43 individual and 5 organizational members. Members include librarians, writers, illustrators, researchers, publishing houses and others. The Section is financially dependent on its membership for its daily operations. Sometimes IBBY Estonia receives project-based grants from the Estonian Cultural Endowment and the Ministry of Culture. The Section holds two annual meetings: the general assembly in the spring and the Autumn Eve in November. An eight-member Board elected biennially by the general assembly is responsible for the functioning of the Section.
The key activities are:
The Section administers the annual Tower of Babel Honour Diploma which is given to a foreign author for an outstanding children’s book published in a foreign language and translated into Estonian. The Diploma is also awarded to the translator and the Estonian publisher. The aim of the award is to encourage the translation of outstanding foreign children’s books into Estonian.
The Section is one of the organizers of the Tallinn Illustrations Triennial “The Power of Pictures”, a contest exhibition for children’s book illustrators from the Baltic Sea region (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Russia, Poland, Finland, Norway and Denmark). The Grand Prix has been awarded in 2003 to Harald Nordberg (Norway), in 2006 to Lilian Brøgger (Denmark) and in 2009 to Varvara Alyai (Russia).
The Section also submits nominations for the IBBY Honour List, nominates Estonian candidates for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and Hans Christian Andersen Award, and organizes the presentation of Estonian artists at the Biennial Illustrations Bratislava.
In 2011, a new summer program – IBBY Estonia Library in the Park – was established, where children have opportunity to read IBBY Honor List titles as well as the books awarded with the Tower of Babel Honor Diploma while visiting parks during summer months.
The main cooperation partner at the national level is the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre. All the employees of the Centre are members of the Estonian Section of IBBY. In 2012, the Estonian Section of IBBY and the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre started a new reading program “Joy of Reading” supplying The Children’s Hospital of Tallinn with bookshelves and children’s books and organizing weekly readings to the patients.
The Estonian Section has good contacts with other Baltic Sections and Nordic Sections of IBBY. The Estonian Section has participated in the conferences and seminars organized by these sections.