libraries in Kenya        0  1693 reads

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. The State Corporations Act Cap 446 of the laws of Kenya also guides the Board in its operations.




These include:
- Preserve and conserve the national imprint for reference and research and maintain the National Bibliographic Control through issuance of the ISBN, publication of the Kenya National Bibliography and Kenya Periodicals Directory.
- promote, establish, equip, manage and maintain the National and Public libraries services in Kenya;
- promote information literacy and reading among Kenyans;
- enhance stakeholders participation for equitable development of libraries throughout the country;
- Advise the Government, local authorities and other public bodies on all matters relating to library, documentation and related services.

An appropriate organization structure has been developed to enhance management, leadership and support of this strategic plan. The necessary responsibility and authority relationship structures have been put down as depicted in the organization chart.

However, an organization restructuring, job evaluation and review may become necessary in the near future in order for knls to be up to its task in contributing to Vision 2030. These exercises will need to establish the composition of the Board, staff levels and re-examine job specifications and descriptions that exist.

Provision of information for development through the national and public library network enables people to fight poverty deprivation and illiteracy and thus supports reading and recovery programmes by the government. Rural and urban poor communities are better able to tackle their problems and introduce social change if they have access to relevant information that meets their needs and interests. In addition, access to information about the country enables citizens to participate effectively in the art of governance.

Through various reading campaigns, knls provides opportunities for communities to enhance their reading and information seeking habits, and therefore sustain literacy. The 2006 Kenya National Adult Literacy Survey estimated the national literacy rate at 61.5 % indicating that only 38.5 % Kenyan adults were illiterate. The survey also revealed that only 29.6 % of the adult population had acquired the desired mastery level of literacy. This meant that the majority of those termed as literate (61.5 %) were at risk of losing their literacy skills or could not effectively perform within the context of knowledge economies.

However, a country with effective library and information services will achieve continuity in learning and reading beyond the formal school programme. Such systems cannot be explained any better than ensuring that library services are accessible to as many Kenyans as possible throughout the country. Public libraries go beyond formal education and they are at the heart of personal and community development. knls promotes reading by providing access to relevant reading materials to all communities. Libraries play a major role in stimulating public interest in books and in promoting reading for knowledge, information and enjoyment – thus knls is indeed a “people’s university.”




Library Collection and Organization
The library contains Print and non-print formats

Print formats

- Books
- Periodicals - Daily local newspapers, Local and international magazines
- Government publications
- Charts and maps

Non-print formats

- E-resources
- Audio-Visual materials include: Cassette tapes, DVDs, CDs, etc
- Talking and Braille books for sight challenged users
- Toys and indoor games

The library information materials are selected and acquired annually based on our collection development policy. Clients’ information needs and suggestions are always taken into consideration.

Organization of library materials
- Information materials are organized using an internationally accepted set of rules referred to as Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, (AACR2).
- Information materials are classified using Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). The library collection is divided into adult, Junior and mobile, within this sections the materials are arranged into Non-fiction materials, fiction materials, over size, reference and multi- media.

The field of knowledge is categorized in 10 broad classes using DDC Sas follows:


Generalities (000)

Psychology (100)

Religion (200)

Social Sciences (300)

Languages (400)

Pure Science (500)

Applied Technology (600)

The Arts (700)

Literature (800)

History and Government (900)

Fiction (A-Z)

The library uses open shelf system with signage to guide clients



Knls Director, Mr Richard Atuti


 Head Office (temporarily moved to Buru-Buru to pave way for construction)

Kenya National Library Service

P.O. Box 30573-00100, NAIROBI

Tel: 254- 020-2158352, 7786710 Fax: 2721749

Buru-Buru, Mumias road/ Ol Donyo Sabuk Road Junction



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