knls Board recognizes the need to network with the public and private sector as well as individuals in its noble role to ensure that library and information services are accessible to as many Kenyans as possible. In effect, institutions dealing in information generation and management have become the focus of society as sources of the most needed commodity in today’s development process. The sudden reduction of the earth as a global village is an example of the information revolution the world is going through. More than ever before, the role of information managers has found its way to the forefront. The critical challenge is that Kenya cannot be left behind in this global process that puts high premium on information. The Board therefore values the contribution of stakeholders and other development partners as the sure way of enhancing accessibility to information by all.
Since the 1960′s, Book Aid International and Kenya National Library Service (knls) have worked together to improve library services in Kenya. In 2010 with funding from the Elsevier Foundation’s Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program, they launched a three year project to improve access to health information in 15 public libraries across Kenya. Health sections in the libraries provide books and information for doctors, nurses, traditional birth attendants and healers providing them with the information they need to improve treatment. According to Dr Gutuma in Embu, “The health corner is a dream come true”.
During each of the three project years, Book Aid International works directly with five public libraries, developing the skills of their librarians to assess and fulfil the information needs of health care providers. Librarians are trained at a four-day workshop during which future trainers are identified. Donations from Book Aid International supply the necessary books and librarians are trained to access online health information, covering topical issues such as breastfeeding, malaria, water sanitation, and HIV/AIDS. Not surprisingly, the libraries have reported notable changes in the way they work and significant increases in the numbers using their services.
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