The Book Bunk has released a report on Nairobi libraries with a digital map of the ones that are accessible to the public. The report cites an International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) estimate that there are 49,172 libraries in Kenya accounting for about 44% of the libraries in Africa. For their report, BooK Bunk had identified 1,323 libraries in Kenya, with 855 being in Nairobi.
The research zoned Nairobi as being either Northern, Eastlands, (downtown (CBD), Westlands and Southern regions. Most libraries are in Westlands with 359, followed by the CBD with 182, then Southern Nairobi and Eastlands (where Book Bunk is based at Makadara) each with about 120 libraries, while Northern Nairobi has 77. The Book Bunk Trust has restored three of the libraries; the McMillan Memorial Library in downtown Nairobi and two of its branches at Kaloleni and Makadara in the eastern part of the city.
Nairobi Libraries were categorized as being public libraries, school libraries and private libraries. Those that are public are 149, private are 389, and school libraries are 317. Of the public ones, they identified 191, of which 149 are operational and accessible to the public.
Some of the familiar public ones are the KNLS Head Office, the McMillan Memorial Library, the British Institute in East Africa, the Kenya Bureau of Statistics Library, and the Kenya National Archives.
Must-visit ones on the list are the Supreme Court, the Nairobi Arboretum, the Ministry of Defence Library, the Railway Museum, the National Treasury, and the Capital Market Authority Library. Also notable are the Japan Information & Culture Centre and SHOFCO Community Centre, and did you know there’s a Bob Collymore Safaricom Community Library?
Other surprises include that hospitals have libraries (Kenyatta, Mathare Mental, Nairobi South and Nairobi West are listed), Kenya Power has 3 in Nairobi, but also Kilimani Police Station has a library!
They are now taking the research nationwide on libraries as they visit around the country to build their database and will disseminate findings through podcasts.