About Us

Our Mandate

Cap 225 of the Laws of Kenya mandates the knls Board to promote, establish, equip, manage and maintain libraries in Kenya.

Who We Are

Kenya National Library Service (knls) Board is a state corporation established by an Act of Parliament Cap 225 of the Laws of Kenya (1965) to provide library and information services to the Kenyan public. The Board is currently under the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage. The headquarters library is located at the Maktaba Kuu Building in Nairobi. At inception the headquarters knls library was housed in a temporary building at the then registration office next to Prison Headquarters, where it opened its doors to the public in 1969. The services were later moved to the knls building which was purposely constructed and opened in 1974.

Later in 2012, the Government of Kenya funded the construction of the current Maktaba Kuu building to facilitate appropriate functioning of the National Library of Kenya, and allow clear demarcation between the National Library Services and the Public Library services. Maktaba Kuu was officially opened on 13th November 2020 by His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H., President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-In-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces.

To date, 64 branch libraries have been established in thirty-three counties, twenty-one of which are based at the county headquarters.

Our Core Values

The following values act as a unifying and inspiring factor in our daily operations and service delivery to the public.

Technology driven

We will continually integrate technology in all our operations and service delivery


We will embrace new ways, ideas and products to satisfy our customer needs

Customer Focus

We will serve our customers with passion, integrity and professionalism

Knowledge Based

We will continually review our services and products to support social economic Development

Our Core Functions

As construed by the current knls Board Act Cap 225 of the Laws of Kenya, the core functions of the Board are as follows:

Acquire books and information sources produced in and outside Kenya and such other materials for a National Library

Preserve and conserve the national imprint for reference and research and maintain the National Bibliographic Control through issuance of the publication of the Kenya National Bibliography Kenya Periodicals Directory and ISBN.

Promote, establish, equip, manage and maintain libraries in Kenya as a National Library Service.

Plan and Coordinate library, documentation and related services in Kenya

Advice the Government, local authorities and other public bodies on all matters relating to library, documentation and related services.

Provide facilities for the study of, and for training in the principles, procedures, and techniques of librarianship and such other related subjects as the Board may determine

Sponsor, arrange or provide facilities for conferences and seminars for discussion on matters in connection with library and related services

Carry out and encourage research in the development of library and related services

Stimulate Public interest in books and promote information literacy for knowledge, information and leisure;


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