In an effort to expand library service provision to all citizens, knls partners with communities to develop libraries in these areas. The development of community libraries is governed by the Community Library Development Policy highlighted below;

The Community Library Development (CLD) policy is an initiative of the knls Board, which was developed in 1990. The initiative was aimed at accelerating library development in the country after the Board experienced cutbacks in donor funding and decline in government grants. This led to stagnation of library development for a decade i.e. 1980 to 1990. To bridge the gap the Board adopted a new development strategy, which involves community participation in the establishment of libraries. Under the programme the first community library was established at Karatina, Nyeri district in 1990 on a pilot basis.

The mandate to develop community libraries was derived from a resolution of the 75th Full Board Meeting of 7th June 1995 vide Min. 3/95 (e). The resolution entailed involving communities to develop libraries in partnership with the Board on cost-sharing basis at various levels. To date, the Board has established 21 community libraries countrywide.  These Libraries are wholly owned and managed by the knls Board. To effectively coordinate and guide the development of these services a policy on community libraries was formulated and adopted by the Board in 1999. The policy required the communities to put in place library buildings and furniture and the Board to provide books, staff and incur recurrent expenditure to facilitate the provision and management of services.

The goal of the CLD initiative is to establish and sustain viable community library services. However, the development pattern of community libraries in the past has been characterized by regional disparities, lack of adherence to minimum library standards and the slow pace by the Board to integrate and commission new community library projects upon completion. It is within these parameters that the existing community library development policy needs to be reviewed to facilitate commencement of services by the Board in all approved and completed community projects.

The community library initiative is in line with the Board’s long-term strategy to entrench partnerships in the development of library projects, programmes and service delivery