Portsmouth hosts a new collection of books in translation

Rows of books, now residing at University of Portsmouth Library

Following bids from universities across the UK and the US, the University of Portsmouth was chosen to house a new collection of books called Near and Far World Books.

  • 16 February 2022
  • 4 min read

The University of Portsmouth has developed a new collection of books called Near and Far World Books. Part of the collection was acquired from the prestigious Outside In World (OIW) Collection of Children’s Books in Translation, making this a unique collection of 1,600 titles translated from many world languages into English. 

Following bids from universities across the UK and the US, all hopeful to have the OIW collection rehomed at their institution, the University of Portsmouth was chosen with intentions of forming a partnership. Not only is the collection rehomed at the institution, but OIW will collaborate with the university and continue to send books from world publishers to top up the collection each year. 

Senior lecturer in illustration, Dr Karenanne Knight and Faculty for Creative and Cultural Industries Librarian, Greta Friggens, put together a proposal to house the collection which was presented to the OIW board of trustees. Their bid included plans to use the collection in outreach for schools, as well as opening the Library for families.

For the first time, it is now available to students, academics and researchers, and, importantly, to diverse local communities through the university’s extensive outreach programme.

It is a delight to see the OIW books brightening the cafe space in the University of Portsmouth Library. It is a significant acquisition to our Near and Far World Books @UoP

Greta Friggens, Faculty Librarian for the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

The Near and Far World Books @UoP dates from the early 1990s to the present day and consists of bilingual, translated and non-English language children’s books in a variety of genres representing 54 countries, as well as a smaller collection donated by Roehampton University, which contains older titles from the 1970s and 1980s.  

OIW is dedicated to promoting, exploring and celebrating world literature and wanted to rehome their collection residing in the homes of trustees, completely inaccessible to the public. 

Commenting on the exciting new partnerships, OIW co-founder, Deborah Hallford said “Translated children’s literature is now being integrated into wider campaigns for diversity of creators and content, helping to ensure its sustainability and growth, thanks in part to the energies of translators, academics and advocates, like OIW. Our partnerships will make a vital contribution to this field and expand the worlds of young readers, now and in the future.”

The library actively encourages the Near and Far World Books @UoP Collection to be used to support research and teaching at the University and in the wider academic world, and for community work.

Greta Friggens, Faculty Librarian for the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries commented: “It is a delight to see the OIW books brightening the cafe space in the University of Portsmouth Library. It is a significant acquisition to our Near and Far World Books @UoP.”

A collection of books from around the world and in many different languages has so many unique pathways from which we can develop projects.

Dr Karenanne Knight, Senior lecturer in Illustration

Dr Knight said “We are so excited to welcome the OIW book collection to the University of Portsmouth Library and thank their trustees, and Deborah Hallford and Alex Strick for enabling this to happen, whilst having faith in our many plans for the collection. 

“A collection of books from around the world and in many different languages has so many unique pathways from which we can develop projects. It is an exciting acquisition and as an illustrator I just can’t wait to see so many examples of amazing text and images, by such a talented number of authors, illustrators and picture book makers across the globe!”

Head of School for Art, Design and Performance, Dr Catherine McNamara said “I’m thrilled by this new book collection of children’s books in different languages and dual languages. Dr Karenanne Knight worked with our library colleagues to acquire the materials and we plan to make them accessible to as many community groups, families and children across Hampshire as possible. This project aligns perfectly with the School of Art, Design and Performance in that much of our work is about socially engaged practice.”

The Collection will be permanently on show for staff and students near the Library’s Café on the ground floor, with easy access for visitors. 

For further information about accessing the Near and Far World Books @UoP, contact library@port.ac.uk