Knls Kisumu Branch Scoops top position at Maktaba Awards 2016
The knls Kisumu Branch emerged top by winning the overall prize in this year’s Maktaba’s Library of the Year Award (LOYA) program. For the library to get to such a level of recognition, the staff have worked hard in delivering services that have a positive impact on people’s lives. The award program seeks to recognize excellence in the provision of Library and information services among libraries in Kenya. It also promotes a culture of continuous improvement in order to ensure that libraries always remain responsive to the ever changing customer needs. Through the overall win by knls Kisumu branch, it is clear that Kenya National Library Service is committed to rendering of quality services to the customers as well as transforming the lives of member communities.
This year’s Maktaba awards Gala was held on 30th September 2016 at Louise Leakey Auditorium at the National Museums of Kenya. The event has registered continuous growth with new libraries showing interest in the awards every year. The growth has also seen new categories being added onto the program to cater for the uniqueness of each in service delivery. The categories involved are; Academic Libraries, Public School Libraries, Private School Libraries, Community Libraries, Special Libraries and Public Libraries.
The event was graced by key personalities among them being Ministry of Education director Irrenaous Kinara, German Embassy Head of Cultural Affairs Uwe Koppel, knls Deputy Director - Technical Services David Muswii and the founder of Amani Kibera Ben Ooko among others. The Library Awards program is modeled on the German Library of the Year Award. Through the support of Goethe Institut, Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and Kenya Library Association.
The journey to the top for Kisumu library has not been easy but rather through hard work coupled by lots of commitment and dedication in rendering of services. Lots of programs and initiatives have been established and partnerships have also taken centre stage in establishing productive collaborations in coming up with literacy programs, educational and life skills training.
During this year’s 8th edition of the Maktaba awards, knls performed excellently with five of its libraries namely Kisumu, Nakuru, Buruburu, Koru and Narok libraries getting recognized for their work. It was the first time for Kisumu Library to win an award at the distinguished LOYA programs and the win came two-fold, as the top winner in the Public Library category and the Overall winner in the 2016 Awards.
The library has been very active in carrying out reading promotion and literacy programs targeting the youth and children. In addition, Kisumu library has the largest number of book clubs where individuals carry out reading activities. Periodically, the branch also organizes unique literacy programs targeting various groups within schools like the scouts and also among the disadvantaged members of the society. Some of the activities conducted at the library include; spelling competition, storytelling, writing competitions, youth extravaganza and quizzes among others.
knls Kisumu Library also conducts outreach services through the Mobile Library service. The mobile Library Service is operational in four centers within the knls networks which are Mombasa, Nairobi, Embu and Kisumu. The Kisumu Mobile Van serves the regions that are within a radius of fifty kilometers from Kisumu town. Through these services, the Library serves several primary and secondary schools. Students from the registered schools are able to read and borrow books during the visit. The registered school can also borrow books in bulk for a period of one month depending on their areas of interest and availability of book stock.
Of special mention is the program offered to children with dyslexia where the library has established and effectively coordinates an outreach program. Children with this kind of a disorder have trouble with reading despite having normal intelligence. Some of the problems include difficulty in spelling certain words, pronouncing words during read aloud, writing words, quick reading and understanding what they have read. In most circumstances in our schools, such children take long to learn since no special individualized attention is given to them. Through a well-organized and coordinated program, the children are given special individualized training at the library where they are taught on pronunciation, spelling and writing. The program incorporates the parents who also get to learn how they can assist their children in developing the necessary skills and understanding. Research has proven that using various methods of teaching, children can successfully learn and also parents have a major role in guiding them.
Through a cultural innovative program, Kisumu library contributes to the preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge and culture of the local community through organizing dances, theatre performances and storytelling sessions which are also recorded on DVD and made available to interested persons. Lots of teen and youth empowerment programs are also carried out at the library and supported by the American Corner which is a program under the American Embassy Nairobi. Other partnerships with the Millennium Villages Project, Worldreader, Book Aid International and Communication Authority of Kenya have also given the library lots of mileage in services delivery.
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