The quest for knowledge requires availability and accessibility of relevant and timely information to those who may require it, wherever they may be located. This role is effectively fulfilled by the 57 public libraries spread across the country. The Public Library is a division of Kenya National Library Services that provides the following library services to the public;
- Conducive reading facilities for the public (both adults and children). This is currently being enhanced through refurbishment and construction of modern libraries across the country.
- Lending of books and other publications to registered members of public.
- Bulk lending of books to learning institutions.
- Provision of an online catalogue. The Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) is used to search for book titles. OPAC is now online and enables you to search for book titles from the comfort of your home, office or anywhere else so long as you have internet access.
- Technical assistance on library development to interested government and private institutions. The library offers consultancy services on how to setup, organize, staff and manage a library as well as providing on the job learning opportunities to librarians through our libraries.
- Inter-library lending. This enables users to borrow books that are available in other libraries within the knls network. The books are delivered to the library where the user is a member.
- Field practicum opportunities to those studying library and information studies. We also offer community service opportunities for students.
- Availing Daily newspapers published in Kenya as well as local and international magazines. In some of our branch libraries, the library acts as the main, and sometimes the only source of news to the community within which it is located.
The Public Library provides services through two broad categories: adult section and junior section.
The Adult Section comprises of:
- Front office – this section provides customer care services where users and visitors can get information on library services while visiting the library or by phone, as well as facilitating regular lending. Lending services are however only accessible to registered members (see membership section for registration details).
- The Short Loan Counter – this is mainly used for publications that are on high demand and limited quantities. Users can borrow the same for a specified period of time after which the materials are returned to be availed to the next user.
- The Reference Section – this facilitates short term lending (typically 4 hours) of reference materials that are on high demand and must be used within the library premises. These include dictionaries, magazines, Atlases among others.
- The Multimedia section – for electronic materials such as CDs DVDs, video cassettes, the library provides viewing aids such as TV screens and head phones. This allows users to interact with the materials without interrupting other users. The multimedia content also includes videos normally sent as accompaniments to the various books available in the library.
- Braille section – the library provides equal opportunity for all including the visually impaired. The Braille section has equipment such as braillers that are used to transcribe regular text to Braille. It also has Navigators which are special equipment that enable users to listen to recorded audio books. We also have CCTV and Videomax used to enlarge materials. The Braille section also offers transcription services (form regular text to Braille) to the public. Outreach services are also offered where trained staff visit institutions for the visually impaired to share material and also interact with the visually impaired. Such institutions include Kiambu, Machakos and Thika schools for the blind.
- Mobile Services – mobile service is aimed at providing library services to communities on the outskirts of Nairobi who may not have regular access to the library. This service is currently provided to institutions located in the following areas; Rongai, Ngong, Ruai, Machakos and Kikuyu. The route is varied every year to ensure equitable service to all locations. Mobile service is also available in Embu, Kisumu and Mombasa counties. The service is offered to designated schools within the areas and students can borrow books and other reading materials and return the same when the mobile bus makes the next visit to the school. Institutions that would require the mobile services may contact the librarians in the branches near their locality for more information
The junior section serves children below the age of fifteen (15) years.
Some of the services provided include;
- Baby/Parent book club - this is an innovative way of introducing kids to learning in a fun environment. Parents accompany their children to the library where they spend time reading and engaging in fun activities. The library has trained facilitators who guide the children through the sessions.
- Indoor games – children are able to have fun and bond with each other as they play games such as junior scrabble, building blocks, and computer games among others. There are also a variety of toys available for the children. The idea is to present reading as a fun and enjoyable activity and help inculcate a reading culture at an early age.
- Story telling – the library organizes story telling sessions on various areas that are of interest to children. The objective of these sessions is to inculcate positive values in the young minds and enable them have a solid foundation as they start out in life.
- Reading and writing competitions
- Video shows
In its endeavour to make information services available to all, the library has partnered with various institutions for provision of specialised information materials. These materials are organised into sections popularly referred to as ‘corners’ and are available within the library.
Some of the information available includes;
- Environment related information from the National Environment and Management Authority (NEMA)
- Disaster management information from the Kenya Red Cross Society
- Information on China from the Chinese embassy in Kenya
- German related materials from Goethe Institute
- Accountancy related information from the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examination Board (KASNEB)
- Gender information
The library will continue to establish partnerships with other institutions in order to provide users with a wide array of information materials
Monday – Friday: 8.00am to 6.30pm
Saturday: 8.30am to 5.00pm
Sundays & Public holidays: closed