By CHARLES NGENO
The Kenya National Library Service has completed the construction of a 800-seater library in Narok town.
The library that sits on a three-acre land donated by National Museum of Kenya is the first in the Maa community region.
According to KNLS director Richard Atuti the Narok library gives them yet another opportunity to continue the work of providing information materials to citizens.
“We now have high levels of expectations that come along with our entrance here in Narok. A library plays many roles in our society today. It has remained a vital tool in every individual’s life,” said Atuti.
Atuti added that the facility is a great milestone in Narok since it will provide a humble and serene environment for access to all sorts of books, magazines, music and movies.
“It is a safe place to meet friends and enhance social cohesion, use the Internet or get help with school assignments especially to school children who can use them to enhance and strengthen the content being taught in school. In so doing, more children who have not accessed education will be encouraged to consider education as an important ambition worth to be achieved in one’s existence,” he said.
The librarian in charge Paul Frank Obuya challenged the community to make maximum use of the facility. He promised to donate all the books he has in his home library so that posterity may benefit from it.
Biggest State project
“Narok is specifically inhabited by several communities and majorly the Maasai. Education and literacy levels has faced and still face serious deep-seated difficulties that stem from the culture and values of our people and therefore a community library is initiated to transform the lives of the people of Narok and take it to another level,” said Obuya.
Obuya said the facility has been fitted with equipment and furniture at a cost of Sh8.5 million. “More than Sh32 million has been used in building the library. This is the biggest Government project in Narok.”
He said a marked improvement in the reading culture among locals was highly expected. “The youths will acquire skills like entrepreneur. Information is power and equally transformative. This is a modern facility since it will be online.”
The facility is complete with an ample parking and a restaurant, which will serve snacks, soft drinks and beverages.
Narok library is currently equipped with a collection of 12,573 books worth Sh8,369,194 in both the adult and junior sections. Another consignment of 2,981 books worth Sh1,537,904 has also been delivered which will bring the total book collection to 15,554 books.
In addition, the library shall also have a collection of journals, magazines, newspapers and audio and visual materials. The users will also have an opportunity to access online resources through the public access computers.
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Former Cabinet minister William ole Ntimama, who was instrumental to the establishment of the library, has also promised to give a donation of books for the Culture Corner.
“We have complied with the Disability Act by putting up ramps and toilets so as to provide for the disabled,” said Obuya.
The library also has a cyber café and a conference hall. According to Japhet Ogega, a sub-contractor who did trunking and networking, 32 clients will be able to browse in one sitting. “The two halls have 50 access points for computers. The locals will have easier access to Internet connection at cheaper rates.”
Residents and area educationists have described the library as an eye-opener for the people of Narok. They say apart from it being a place of research it will also be a source of employment. They said the community that has been lagging behind will come at par with other communities because education is the greatest equaliser.
Vivian Maikweki, a teacher at Eor-Ekule secondary school said the library is god-send to residents. She said teachers will have a chance to take their students to study at the library during weekends and holidays.
“Since holiday tuition was banned, students will have time to visit the facility and do private studies. Those coming from far can borrow books and read at home. We are going to witness an improvement in the performance of our students,” she said.