Monday, 6 July 2009

A brief summary of mobile library services in Kenya

Kenya has nomadic populations and poor road infrastructure. The poor transport network makes it difficult for people to visit a static library. The Kenyan National Library Service was formed in 1969. By 2002 the mobile service was eight bookmobiles that were becoming unreliable and expensive to repair, one motorbike book box system which was community ran in central Kenya, and two camels providing a service to the pastoral nomads in the north east of the country (Atuti 2002) The mobile service has been assessed a number of times with the conclusion that the book box and camel services are cost effective. Masha Hamilton, an American novelist based a book on her experiences with the Camel Library Service and has since set up a system of book donations to the service. There are presently 13 camels serving a wider region in the north east of Kenya (Hamilton 2009). The most important thing about quoting this service is that it is out reach in the extreme, people thought the nomads were unreachable, but they are not (Atuti and Ikoja-Odongo 1999). The goal of the mobile library service is for the “Enrichment of inconvenienced user communities”. The six objectives start with “To promote literacy and reading recovery programs in rural areas”. The service has been researched thoroughly and has been found to be “feasible” (Atuti 2002).

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