The new Nakuru Library
Kenya National Library Service
P. O. Box 30573 – 00100
Tel: 020 7786710/ 2158352
Old Nakuru Library
The need for information services as a key driver to economic development of any nation cannot be overemphasized. Indeed Kenya’s Vision 2030, the country’s blueprint for transforming the country into a newly industrialized middle-income country by year 2030, recognizes the need to have a knowledge-based economy in order to achieve the desired transformation. Public libraries occupy a central and significant position in facilitating knowledge dissemination owing to their mandate and geographical spread across the country.
Decentralization brought about by the enactment of a new constitution in 2010 also heralds a new era of transformation, where counties will be financially empowered to manage their own affairs and set priorities for development. With the extensive regional network, knls is strategically positioned to provide the much needed information to citizens at the county level.
Kenya National Library Service (knls) Board is a state corporation under the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts. The Board was established by an Act of Parliament Cap 225 of the Laws of Kenya (1965) to provide library and information services to the Kenyan public. The Board is mandated by the Act to: promote, establish, equip, manage, maintain and develop libraries in Kenya. To date, knls has a network of 59 branch libraries spread across the country.
The hub of information and knowledge for empowerment
To enable access to information for knowledge and transformation of livelihoods
The search for facilities to set up a library in Nakuru started in 1975, where the then Kenya National Library Service Board requested the Municipal Council of Nakuru to avail facilities where library and information services would be provided to Nakuru residents. Upon favourable response, knls Nakuru branch was established in February 1976 at Starehe hall located off Kalewa road in Bondeni area of Nakuru Municipality. The library had a floor space of approximately 275sq metres with a sitting capacity of 140 adults and 50 children.
Nakuru library was initially set up to cater for the needs of the then expansive Rift Valley province. According to the 2009 census, Nakuru County has a population of 1,603,325 and is expected to continue growing as more and more people migrate into the county in search of arable land and to exploit the business opportunities available in the region. Nakuru town is the fourth largest urban centre in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu with an estimated population of over 500,000 people.
The library catchment area covers Nakuru Town, Njoro-Mau Summit, Kuresoi, Subukia-Nyahururu, and Marigat - Eldama Ravine regions. As the main business hub for the region, Nakuru has experienced significant growth in both the business and education sector where almost every public university has established a satellite campus in the town. Within Nakuru Municipality, the library serves 26 primary schools, 18 Secondary schools, over 20 colleges and higher learning institutions, health facilities, banks and Non-governmental organizations.
Readers at the old Nakuru Library Building
1. Inadequate space
The previous library experienced heavy congestion as readers competed for the limited reading space that was available.
2. Changing user needs and preferences
In line with technological advancement experienced in the recent past, customers have become increasingly aware of new information services available in other libraries, thereby influencing their requirements and preferences. There is now the need to provide online access to information materials, free Internet access within library premises, ample space that facilitates interaction and networking among other requirements. These services would not have been sufficiently provided in the old facility, hence the need for expansion.
New building and facilities
In 1995, the Municipal Council of Nakuru allocated a plot to the knlsBoard for the construction of a modern library and construction work begun in 2007. The new library was opened to the public in July 2012. It sits on a plot measuring 0.3798 hectares and is located behind Christ the King Cathedral and lies between Moses Mudavadi Road and Moi Road. It is located in close proximity to the Central Business District and is accessible through either Moi or West roads.
The children area is located on the ground floor and provides conducive reading space complete with easily accessible bookshelves, reading tables and a play area for the preschool children.
Since the library was opened to the public in July 2012, the attendance has risen to about 980,000. This is a 600% increase as compared to a 140,000 customer base in the old building. The library has also received a boost from the Book Aid International (UK) who have established a health hub that comprises diverse information on medical field. This initiative has benefited health workers, medical practitioners and researchers in the medical field. Customers in this section appreciate this information, which they confess would otherwise have been very expensive to obtain through purchases, as it is not also available in the learning institutions.
The new library has a book stock of about 60,000 volumes worth about Kshs. 26,272,000 in addition to the online information resources that knls receives through annual subscription to various professional journals and e-Books from different sources such as World Bank, INASP, EIFL and PERII.
The new library will significantly contribute to improving transforming the lives of Nakuru residents not only in the area of formal education but also in sectors such as agriculture and health where residents will now be able to access relevant information to improve farming productivity and also better manage their health. Internally, the library will help raise the profile of knlsas a relevant information service provider that proactively responds to the needs of its stakeholders.