This is a guest post from Lyn Miller-Lachmann of The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative.
Today’s teens live in a far more interconnected world than young people of earlier generations. They meet peers in other countries through video games, “sister schools” programs, and study abroad. Many immigrant families maintain ties to their countries of origin, and travel back and forth during school vacations. Air travel and the Internet have brought the world to our living room, and people in the United States to the rest of the world.
Literature plays a unique role in building global connections. Knowing the stories of a culture is key to understanding that culture. Writers who live within the country or culture offer a different perspective from that of writers who travel to the country as tourists or researchers. The We Need Diverse Books movement has highlighted the authenticity that comes from being a cultural insider. The insiders of books with international settings are authors from those countries.
Language, however, remains a barrier. That’s where translators come in. Thanks to the process of translation, young readers are not restricted to English-speaking countries when “traveling” through books. If books can take you anywhere, translators are the pilots or the ships’ captains who make sure you arrive safely at your destination.
In recent months, a group of literary translators and activists have created the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI). According to the mission statement, “the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative strives to raise the visibility of world literature for adults and children at the local, national and international levels. We intend to do so by facilitating close and direct collaboration between translators and librarians, because we believe translators are uniquely positioned to help librarians provide support and events to engage readers of all ages in a library framework that explores and celebrates literature from around the world.” Continue reading The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative