The new “Dr. John Michuki Memorial Library – Kangema” is the latest addition to the existing Kenya National Library Branches which brings the total number of branches to sixty one. Located at the Kangema Divisional Headquarters, the magnificent library is adjacent to the Kangema CDF offices, the Sub County headquarters and the Divisional administration offices for the region. The Library has large sections to hold around 300 adults at the adult section and 300 children at the junior section. In addition, the library has an ICT resource centre which is equipped with 15 computers, a meeting room and the administrative offices for the staff. The library has a neat and attractive design and is in a serene environment which makes it conducive for the library patrons. The Library is a product of a community initiative implemented by Kangema Constituency Development Fund (CDF). It is the first library in the country where the construction has been fully funded by CDF, which is a clear demonstration of great leadership in empowering the community with information resources. The library opened its doors to the public on the first week of August 2015.
To accelerate the access of library and information services to the Kenyan Citizens, knls came up with the community library concept where the community jointly with Kenya National Library Service develop, equip and sustain the library services within different regions. The program has been successful and several libraries have in the recent past been established using this model. Some of the libraries that are a product of community engagement are Dr. Robert Ouko Memorial Library – Koru, Timau Library, Nyilima Library, Karatina Library, Naivasha Library, Kibera Library, Laikipia Library and Mary Patch Turnbull Memorial Library – Werugha among others. The spearheading of construction of such libraries has been done through certain Kenyan Citizens that have chosen to honour their loved ones through the establishment of an information resource centre for empowering the community. In other instances, it has been a deliberate effort by the leaders of a certain region realizing the importance such facilities would bring to their regions in promoting access to information. In the recent past, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which is a fund allocated to elective regions known as Constituencies and Managed by the office of a Member of Parliament have been critical in the establishment of new community libraries as well as expansion and equipping of the existing ones.
The new library in Kangema is one of the success stories of the knls – CDF partnerships, where the library development was done by the Kangema CDF, equipping was done jointly and the staffing and sustainability handled by Kenya National Library Service. Under the leadership of the late former area Member of parliament Hon. John Njoroge Michuki, the community recommended the establishment of a Library which was to act as an information resource and empowerment centre. The Idea was later crystallised and construction work begun. After the Passing on of Hon John Michuki, Hon Tirus Ngahu was elected and he took over and supported the already established library project till completion. Hon Tirus Nyingi Ngahu has been very passionate about improvement of the educational standards of Kangema Constituency. He has supported various initiatives that are geared towards supporting educational activities, providing students with a conducive learning environmentas well as financial support to the needy families in form of bursaries for fees payments. His support went further to include the equipping with furniture, electronic equipments, and information resource materials.
Through this kind of partnership, knls shall continually modernise and improve on the services to the library patrons, ensured that the library is operational and meeting the needs of the patrons, maintenance of the facility and the resources and placement of professional staff to run the library operations. As a way of creating community ownership of the libraries, knls always reserves a certain number of positions for the residents of that community where the library is located.