Latest Event Updates

Launch of the e-Readers program – knls Timau 23rd November 2016

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Timau Library benefited with 50 e-reader devices from the current partnership program between knls and Worldreader dubbed “Libraries E-reading Activities and Partnership (LEAP)”. The librarians equally received training on how to manage the devices, install recommended updates and assist library patrons on their use. As part of awareness creation and promotion of their usage, a launch activity was organized at the library where the library committee members, stakeholders in the education sector and opinion leaders within the region were also invited.

Charles Kabugi the Vice Chairman of the Library Committee expressed his joy in seeing that knls continually brought new to programs to the library which has helped in increasing the usage of the facility and he promised to support the awareness initiatives through his interaction with neighbours, teachers of different schools and churches.

dsc_0036The program was successfully launched at the centre where the visitors got to learn a lot on how they can benefit from the devices. In addition, the community members lauded the efforts of the two institutions in working hard to offer exciting reading and learning partnerships to the library users in the region. Mr. Joseph Kigweta, the director of Good Shepherd Digital Academy said that more pupils from his school had enrolled to become library members after the devices were introduced in the library, as evidenced by the number of endorsement on the library membership sought by the pupils.


Participation in the Churchill Kids Festival at Carnivore grounds

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Children having fun at the knls Stand during the Churchill Kids Festival held at Carnivore – September 2016 

Churchill Kids Festival is an event that seeks to promote reading and learning among children, exploration of children talent as well are help children embrace reading as an exciting activity. Knls Participated in the event on 3rd September 2016 which was hosted at Carnivore Grounds where over 8,000 children and 3,000 adults. The event was filled with lots of fun activities hosted by various exhibitors and participants in the event. At the knls stand, fun activities included painting, colouring, read aloud events, public speaking, singing, dancing, and spelling competitions. Children who exhibited exemplary performance were rewarded. A lot of interest and enthusiasm was also recorded among the small children especially with their great interest in picture books and educative toys. The librarians participating in the event were drawn from Knls Kibera, Nairobi Area and Buruburu libraries. Through interactions with parents and guardians of the children present, the librarians were able to have fruitful interactions with parents.

In order to make reading interesting to young children, it is important to integrate the same with fun and excitement. As they grow up, they shall appreciate its importance and have the drive to do it on their own without it being pushed on them.

Training of youth in life skills and entrepreneurship

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Hon. Isaac Mwaura addresses participants at a Business Plan Competition session held at knls Thika Branch in March 2016

A partnership between knls and Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) an international NGO has seen the training of youth in some of the knls branches in different regions. The program targets high school graduates, youth who are out of employment as well as those who have an interest in entrepreneurship. The program has been very effective in impacting the lives of young men and women whom in some cases are disadvantaged. The program introduces young people to essential life skills including self-awareness and reflection modules.

It also introduces them to financial literacy skills, computer skills and basic business skills. by September 2016, a total of 2246 participants had been trained since the inception of the program in June 2014, 1083 of them being female while male participants were 1163. Ten knls branches were involved in the first phase of the program which were Murang’a, Kakamega, Kisii, Kangema, Thika, Kisumu, Nyeri, Nakuru, Buruburu and Dzitsoni. Out of the total participants trained, 22.5% have so far transitioned from training to either employment, further education or entrepreneurship. Through these training knls has raised its profile in the communities served by modelling itself as an empowerment centre.


Knls Kisumu Branch Scoops top position at Maktaba Awards 2016

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From Left: knls Deputy Director David Muswii, Librarian-in-Charge Kisumu Branch Doris Moga, American Corner Kisumu Co-ordinator Moses Mwandihi and Kisumu Branch Librarian Nancy Ochieng receive a dummy cheque worth Kshs 300,000 from Wenslans Ong’ayo during Maktaba Awards. knls Kisumu Branch was declared the Overall Winner of the Best Library of the Year 2016.


The knls Kisumu Branch emerged top by winning the overall prize in this year’s Maktaba’s Library of the Year Award (LOYA) program. For the library to get to such a level of recognition, the staff have worked hard in delivering services that have a positive impact on people’s lives. The award program seeks to recognize excellence in the provision of Library and information services among libraries in Kenya. It also promotes a culture of continuous improvement in order to ensure that libraries always remain responsive to the ever changing customer needs. Through the overall win by knls Kisumu branch, it is clear that Kenya National Library Service is committed to rendering of quality services to the customers as well as transforming the lives of member communities.

This year’s Maktaba awards Gala was held on 30th September 2016 at Louise Leakey Auditorium at the National Museums of Kenya. The event has registered continuous growth with new libraries showing interest in the awards every year. The growth has also seen new categories being added onto the program to cater for the uniqueness of each in service delivery. The categories involved are; Academic Libraries, Public School Libraries, Private School Libraries, Community Libraries, Special Libraries and Public Libraries.
The event was graced by key personalities among them being Ministry of Education director Irrenaous Kinara, German Embassy Head of Cultural Affairs Uwe Koppel, knls Deputy Director – Technical Services David Muswii and the founder of Amani Kibera Ben Ooko among others. The Library Awards program is modeled on the German Library of the Year Award. Through the support of Goethe Institut, Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and Kenya Library Association.

The journey to the top for Kisumu library has not been easy but rather through hard work coupled by lots of commitment and dedication in rendering of services. Lots of programs and initiatives have been established and partnerships have also taken centre stage in establishing productive collaborations in coming up with literacy programs, educational and life skills training.

During this year’s 8th edition of the Maktaba awards, knls performed excellently with five of its libraries namely Kisumu, Nakuru, Buruburu, Koru and Narok libraries getting recognized for their work. It was the first time for Kisumu Library to win an award at the distinguished LOYA programs and the win came two-fold, as the top winner in the Public Library category and the Overall winner in the 2016 Awards.

The library has been very active in carrying out reading promotion and literacy programs targeting the youth and children. In addition, Kisumu library has the largest number of book clubs where individuals carry out reading activities. Periodically, the branch also organizes unique literacy programs targeting various groups within schools like the scouts and also among the disadvantaged members of the society. Some of the activities conducted at the library include; spelling competition, storytelling, writing competitions, youth extravaganza and quizzes among others.

knls Kisumu Library also conducts outreach services through the Mobile Library service. The mobile Library Service is operational in four centers within the knls networks which are Mombasa, Nairobi, Embu and Kisumu. The Kisumu Mobile Van serves the regions that are within a radius of fifty kilometers from Kisumu town. Through these services, the Library serves several primary and secondary schools. Students from the registered schools are able to read and borrow books during the visit. The registered school can also borrow books in bulk for a period of one month depending on their areas of interest and availability of book stock.

Of special mention is the program offered to children with dyslexia where the library has established and effectively coordinates an outreach program. Children with this kind of a disorder have trouble with reading despite having normal intelligence. Some of the problems include difficulty in spelling certain words, pronouncing words during read aloud, writing words, quick reading and understanding what they have read. In most circumstances in our schools, such children take long to learn since no special individualized attention is given to them. Through a well-organized and coordinated program, the children are given special individualized training at the library where they are taught on pronunciation, spelling and writing. The program incorporates the parents who also get to learn how they can assist their children in developing the necessary skills and understanding. Research has proven that using various methods of teaching, children can successfully learn and also parents have a major role in guiding them.

Through a cultural innovative program, Kisumu library contributes to the preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge and culture of the local community through organizing dances, theatre performances and storytelling sessions which are also recorded on DVD and made available to interested persons. Lots of teen and youth empowerment programs are also carried out at the library and supported by the American Corner which is a program under the American Embassy Nairobi. Other partnerships with the Millennium Villages Project, Worldreader, Book Aid International and Communication Authority of Kenya have also given the library lots of mileage in services delivery.

knls Hosts the New American Embassy Regional Information Resource Officer

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Ms. Alkar Bhatnagar (Fourth from right) the New Information Officer at the American Embassy Nairobi, the knls Director Mr. Richard Atuti together with staff from knls, American Embassy from Nairobi, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Eritrea

Kenya National Library Service (knls) hosted the New Regional Information Resource Officer posted at the American Embassy in Nairobi, Ms Alka Bhatngagar on the . She was accompanied by the American Reference Centre (ARC) Director, George Kamau and American Corner Coordinators from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zanzibar and Tanzania. She was received by the knls Director Mr. Richard Atuti who briefed her about knls and its operations. Knls enjoys a partnership with the American Embassy through the establishment of American Corners in two of its public libraries; knls Kisumu Branch and knls Nakuru Branch. Through this partnership, knls has benefited through books, playaway gadgets, computers, photocopiers, printers, e-granaries and support in organizing activities among others. Library patrons within those regions have heavily patronised the library due to the e-resources available for students, researchers, trainers, farmers and general knowledge materials. The e-granary provides over thirty million databases of resource materials that are available offline.

In addition, internet connection speed were greatly enhanced thereby creating opportunities for researchers, self taught entrepreneurs through access to online information and opportunities for interaction through skype, email and blogs. Various entrepreneurs have also had a chance to sell their products online and children have had a guided interaction with electronic devices that connect to the internet. Students from the Kenya Medical Training College in Kisumu have benefited through the access of online databases on the medical field. Various library patrons are full of praise of the eGranary that has been of great help to them as they do their research, assignments and dissertations during their studies. Knls values this partnership since it has had a real positive impact in the empowerment of communities as well as created lots of awareness about the existence of the wonderful resources to those that are within the region leading to high patronage of the library.

About us

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View of the upcoming new knls Headquarters from Ngong road.


Kenya National Library service (knls) Board is a statutory body of the Government of Kenya established by an Act of Parliament, Cap 225 of the Laws of Kenya in April 1965. The Board‘s mandate is to develop, promote, establish and equip libraries in Kenya. The State Corporations Act Cap 446 of the laws of Kenya also guides the Board in its operations.



  • The hub of information and knowledge for empowerment


  • To enable access to information for knowledge and transformation of livelihoods

 Core Values:

  • Passion
  • Innovation
  • Customer centered
  • Knowledge driven

These include: –

  • Preserve and conserve the national imprint for reference and research and maintain the National Bibliographic Control through issuance of the ISBN, publication of the Kenya National Bibliography and Kenya Periodicals Directory.
  • promote, establish, equip, manage and maintain the National and Public libraries services in Kenya;
  • promote information literacy and reading among Kenyans;
  • enhance stakeholders participation for equitable development of libraries throughout the country;
  • Advise the Government, local authorities and other public bodies on all matters relating to library, documentation and related services.

An appropriate organization structure has been developed to enhance management, leadership and support of this strategic plan. The necessary responsibility and authority relationship structures have been put down as depicted in the organization chart.

However, an organization restructuring, job evaluation and review may become necessary in the near future in order for knls to be up to its task in contributing to Vision 2030. These exercises will need to establish the composition of the Board, staff levels and re-examine job specifications and descriptions that exist.

Provision of information for development through the national and public library network enables people to fight poverty deprivation and illiteracy and thus supports reading and recovery programmes by the government. Rural and urban poor communities are better able to tackle their problems and introduce social change if they have access to relevant information that meets their needs and interests. In addition, access to information about the country enables citizens to participate effectively in the art of governance.

Through various reading campaigns, knls provides opportunities for communities to enhance their reading and information seeking habits, and therefore sustain literacy. The 2006 Kenya National Adult Literacy Survey estimated the national literacy rate at 61.5 % indicating that only 38.5 % Kenyan adults were illiterate.  The survey also revealed that only 29.6 % of the adult population had acquired the desired mastery level of literacy. This meant that the majority of those termed as literate (61.5 %) were at risk of losing their literacy skills or could not effectively perform within the context of knowledge economies.

However, a country with effective library and information services will achieve continuity in learning and reading beyond the formal school programme. Such systems cannot be explained any better than ensuring that library services are accessible to as many Kenyans as possible throughout the country. Public libraries go beyond formal education and they are at the heart of personal and community development. knls promotes reading by providing access to relevant reading materials to all communities. Libraries play a major role in stimulating public interest in books and in promoting reading for knowledge, information and enjoyment – thus knls is  indeed a “people’s university.”

knls takes reading promotion to Kiki Kids Festival at Meru County

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Kenya National Library Service (knls) took the reading promotion activities to Meru County through the Kiki Kids Festival that took place on 25th July 2015 at Meru Technical Training Institute. The successful event attracted thousands of children and their parents where there were lots of activities meant to equip the children with requisite skills, nurture their talent and spur their creativity. In addition, there were lots of fun activities in form of reading challenges, quizes, spelling competition and games where winners were awarded with gifts.