THE NEW NAKURU LIBRARY

The knls Nakuru library has come a long way where the journey to set up the library began in 1975, when the Kenya National Library Service Board requested the Municipal Council of Nakuru to avail facilities that could be used in the provichildren entertain guests with a traditional dance during the eventsion of library services to Nakuru residents. Upon favourable response, knls Nakuru branch was established in February 1976 at Starehe hall located off Kalewa road in Bondeni area of Nakuru Municipality. The library had a floor space of approximately 275sq metres with a sitting capacity of 140 adults and 50 children.

Nakuru library was initially set up to cater for the needs of the then expansive Rift Valley Province. According to the 2009 census, Nakuru County has a population of 1,603,325 and is expected to continue growing as more and more people migrate into the county in search of arable land and to exploit the business opportunities available in the region. Nakuru town is the fourth largest urban centre in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu with an estimated population of over 500,000 people.  Due to the increased population within Nakuru town, the library patronage rose and soon the facility was overstretched in the provision of library and information services. As a result, there was need to establish a larger facility that could serve the region adequately. The then Municipal Council of Nakuru supported the initiative by allocating knls a parcel of land in 1995 where the new library could be set up, and that was how the fate of the current new facility was sealed.

The official opening of knls Nakuru Library took place on the 14th May 2014 and the Chief Guest opened by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario. The ceremony was also graced by guests from the Museums of Kenya, Kenya Cultural Centre, County Leadership, Religious leaders among other invited guests from within the area. Also present were representatives from the neighbouring academic institutions who also entertained the guests present at the occasion. High commendation was given to them for being the leading patrons in usage of the library facility. The function took place at the library grounds where the guestsThe new start of the art facility was built at a cost of about 250 million. The new library has a capacity of 2,500 users and will address some of the challenges like inadequate reading space, online information resources, accessibility for persons with disabilities, limited print information resources and a conducive environment.

The library can be accessed from Moses Mudavadi road and it boarders Christ Thy King Catholic Cathedral on the lower end. Public libraries occupy a central and significant position in facilitating knowledge dissemination owing to their mandate and geographical spread across the country. The library will also provide supplementary information materials to the students at all levels and promote leisure reading. Hence it is therefore well positioned to bridge this gap by providing information for lifelong development to the residents of Nakuru.

While opening the Library, The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario who was the chief guest said that the modern facility marked a key milestone and accomplishment for Nakuru County residents who could easily benefit in regards to access to information for and knowledge for empowerment. He also commended the knls Board of Directors for taking the direction of modernizing public library facilities in the country. The government’s commitment to have an enlightened and informed citizenry was emphasized and further, Nakuru County residents were requested to all work together in fighting ignorance by mainstreaming it in their development agenda.

The new library will address the challenges previously devilling the provision of library and information services like lack of adequate reading space, limited ICT resources, congestion, and inadequate book stock, reading space for children and meeting space. He emphasized that a library is such an important resource for learning, innovation and creativity and is often described as the heart and memory of the society and is therefore obligatory to the intellectual growth of a community.

The library’s catchment catchment area covers Nakuru Town, Njoro-Mau Summit, Kuresoi, Subukia-Nyahururu, and Marigat - Eldama Ravine regions. A 2011 report by the UN Habitat placed Nakuru town as the fastest growing town in Kenya and entire Africa with an Annual growth rate of about 13%. It is the fourth largest town in Kenya and is a county that has major tourist attractions in the country. This clearly explains that the idea of having an ultra-modern library facility would not have come at a better time than now. The usage of the library is now on an upward trend and indeed all other libraries in the country. More and more citizens are taking time off to visit libraries. If this trend is sustained, the nation will be headed for  the right direction in building an informed knowledge driven society.

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