Kenya National Library service (knls) Board is a statutory body of the Government of Kenya established by an Act of Parliament, Cap 225 of the Laws of Kenya in April 1965. The Board‘s mandate is to develop, promote, establish and equip libraries in Kenya.
Profile of Nyilima Community Library
Old Nyilima Library block – Currently housing the children section
The knls Nyilima Library was established in the year 1999 through a community initiative. This was after a successful guidance of a committee set up in 1997 to look at the possibilities of coming up with a new library at Nyilima. The committee was chaired by Jack Hongo who eventually became the library patron. The library was officially commissioned on 6th December 1999. The establishment of this library was hastened by an individual[TM1] who donated the land and building in which the library facility is located. The building used to be a house and later it was modified to serve as a library. The community has been instrumental in supporting the facility and also make use of the resources available at the centre. The library is located in Siaya County within the Nyanza region which is around 77.6kms away from Kisumu and is 1205metres above sea level. The main economic activity within the Nyilima area is farming and fishing.
Some of the learning institutions served by the library facility are; Lwak Girls High School, Mitiro Secondary School, Raliew Secondary School, Wera Secondary School, Majango Secondary School Siger Secondary School, St. Mathey Kandaria Secondary School and Obaga Primary School. Since establishment, the library has continued to serve the community in the area and the library has registered gradual increase in patronage by the library over the years, a factor that has necessitated the need to consider a larger capacity library for both adult and junior sections. Services rendered through the library facility include; adult and junior lending, advisory library services, bulk lending to institutions and schools, Inter-library lending, HIV & AIDS information and services to visually impaired services.
Donkey Library in Nyilima for outreach services
In the year 2005, the library introduced donkey mobile services. The purpose was to ensure that the library was able to reach out to a larger number of the learning institutions within the area. This was particularly to serve schools and other institutions which were not near the library. This service involved a carriage pulled with two donkeys. The carriage carries approximately 1200 books. The carriage served institutions within a radius of 18 kilometres from the main library. However, due to logistical problems, the service was discontinued in November 2010. The learning institutions that were initially served by the mobile donkey services were encouraged to plan an arrangement where they would request particular book titles for a duration of two weeks, which can be exchanged with others upon return. In addition, the institutions also make arrangements for library visits by their pupils/students on different dates.
The Proposed new library Building
Adult Library block under construction
In November 2010 the current library block that houses the adult section was inspected by the District Works Officer during their routine inspection and found to be unfit for human occupation. As a result, the knls board and the former Member of Parliament for Rarieda Constitutency Hon. Eng. Nicholas Gumbo through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocated money for the construction of a new library block. The knls board approved a sum of Kshs. 2 million, while the CDF committee pledged to contribute a further Kshs. 2 million. The district works officer was therefore mandated to do the architectural plans. The bill of quantities eventually brought the total cost of the project to Kshs. 5.5 million. An agreement was then made to commence the work while still negotiating with potential sponsors. Ngarwe building and Construction Company was then awarded the tender to construct the new library. The district works officer was therefore appointed as the project manager. As at 1st April 2013, the district works officer valued the building at 96% complete. The building comprises of the following;
1. Adult reading room
2. Cyber café
3. Librarian’s office
4. Secretarial office
6. Staff room
The construction works are still on-going and the library block is expected to be completed in the course of this financial year.
Children Activities at Nyilima Library
The current library has been operating in two separate buildings where the adult section is on one block while the children section is on the other. Since the children library block is still not in a good state, plans are underway to ensure that a new library facility for the children section is constructed in order to provide them better environment for carrying out their studies and reading activities. The library development committee has been working with the knls management and the board to see to it that knls is able to develop better facilities for the children section. Various partners have been approached to partner with knls, including the Rarieda Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Committee.
Statistics about the Library
New Library Block – Adult Section
Nyilima library has a book stock of 21,643 volumes in both the adult and the junior sections. The adult section has 12,153 volumes while the junior section has 9,490 volumes. The library registers an average daily attendance of 450 patrons and an attendance of 11,700 patrons in a month. Book issuance for the month of April 2013 stood at 14,758 which is quite a good number considering the location of the library. The library membership stands at 2,140 active members, where 1,400 are junior members and 740 Adult members.
The library has played a key role in supplementing education activities in the region through provision of supplementary content to students and school going children. The library has also opened up opportunities to people living in the region and reduced the knowledge gap within the community and empower them by creation of opportunities for investment and entrepreneurial activities.