The history of today’s Estonian Children’s Literature Centre is as complicated and full of twists as the history of the Estonian state itself. Over the years, the institution has held many different names and has been under the control of larger institutions before finally becoming independent.
The history of the Centre began in 1933 with the establishment of the Youth Library at the Tallinn City Library, which later developed into a separate library under the city’s jurisdiction. Initially, the children’s library only offered reading opportunities, but after joining the State Library in 1961, it gradually developed into a methodology and bibliography centre for the entire republic’s child services. This was a new and expansive task, which was fulfilled as the collections and staff grew. Starting from 1975 the Centre continued as the independent Estonian SSR State Children’s and Youth Library.
In 1998 the Estonian Children’s Library became the Estonian Children’s Literature Information Centre as a result of the expansion of its areas of operation.
In 2007 the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre was established. By that time, the Centre had developed into:
- a collector and preserver of Estonian children’s literature and children’s cultural heritage as an archive library
- an intermediary of children’s literature as a children’s and youth library
- a collector and analyst of information in the field of children’s literature
- a speciality bibliography centre
- a children’s literature-based development and training centre for librarians, teachers, students and all other individuals interested in children’s literature
- an organiser and conductor of large-scale state literature projects and other events