National libraries worldwide have the legal right to secure all the legal deposits they receive and ensure that works of Authors and publishers are preserved for use by the future generations.
In Kenya, Books and Newspapers Act, Cap 111 (1987) of the Laws of Kenya, states that “Every publisher in Kenya is required to deposit two copies of every new title published, with the Director, Kenya National Library Service (knls) within 14 days of the publication.” This is what is referred to as legal deposit and may include books, journals, sheet music, maps, plans, charts or tables in relation to print publications. The main goal of legal deposits is preservation of the National Imprint/National Documentary Heritage of Kenya.
The legal deposits facilitate knls in the production of the Kenya National Bibliography, which is a record of the Kenyana collection published in any given year. This gives a statistical account of Kenya’s publishing output and reveals the strength of Kenya Publishing Industry. It reflects the intellectual and cultural heritage of the country. The compilation of the KNB started in 1980, but it was only after amendments of the knls Board Act (Cap 225) of the Laws of Kenya in 1984, that knls was given the full responsibility for the production of KNB.