The construction in Kenya of the multi-million dollar Kenya National Library complex which is taking shape at the upmarket suburb of Nairobi will rival the British Library in the United Kingdom and the Library of Congress in the US in size and enormity.
With a sitting capacity of 5000 readers at any given time, the construction in Kenya of this ultra-modern reading facility, according to the Chief Executive Officer, Kenya National Library Services (KNLS), Richard Atuti, will be a game changer in the reading culture of Kenyan public.
The gigantic reading facility which is being construction in Kenya in Nairobi’s up market Upper Hill area will cost the exchequer US$19.5 Million once complete and will enhance the capacity of the present facility which was constructed soon after independence.
Atuti who took newsmen around the construction site of the new library said that besides hosting thousands of readers, the new library will act as a comprehensive reference service for all readers besides supporting research work and hosting all kinds of government publications.
Atuti further said that, the new ultra-modern library will also host a section for the physically challenged and another one for the visually impaired.
“We have dedicated a whole section for these category of people in an effort to integrate them into the rapidly expanding reading clientele in Kenya while the same section will host another section with specially recorded materially for people with hearing challenges (the deaf)”, said the KNLS CEO.
The CEO said this new library building whose first phase will be ready for occupation by the end of September this year is endowed with hi-tech information technology (ICT) gadgets which will ensure access to the internet and ensure safety of materials preserved.
“The facility which is 53 percent done will be completed by 2017 and it will usher in a virtual library culture for Kenyans where they can virtually access library services online from the comfort of their homes or offices,” said the KNLS boss.
He said that it will have a component of open public access and it will be accessible online with a full list of books in the library and which branch has which book, wherever it’s available for borrowing or reservation.
Atuti said the library will have wireless internet with 100 meters of the vicinity for the benefit of readers.
He said the KNLS is coming with a master plan that is being undertaken in collaboration with Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), to ascertain the cost to construct libraries across all the 47 counties as part of vision 2030.
“The users will use biometric system to access the facility which will be comfortable and secure, the concept is very unique and easy to use,” he further says.
He adds that the new library will have recorded books to be availed to people with impaired hearing, while they will also have audio navigators to guide the visually challenged learners.
“The new hi-tech installed will be a whole new experience that will bring a paradigm shift on how we use the library services,” he adds.