Kenya To Launch Sh250 Million Virtual Library Next Year Says President Uhuru Kenyatta

The government of Uganda is coming up with a Sh250 million virtual library to ensure that Kenyans have access to quality, timely and relevant information held in the Kenya National Library from anywhere in the world even from the comfort of their homes. This was made known by the president, Uhuru Kenyatta. He also disclosed that the virtual library will be launched by June 2021 and will have a capacity of 15 million publications. The first phase will see 800,000 digitize books, periodicals, research papers and government publications. It will contain 600,000 e-books which are also accessible offline through the e-readers across 63 Kenya National Library Service branches countrywide.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Sports CS Amina Mohamed when he presided over the official opening of Maktaba Kuu Building at Kenya National Library Service in Nairobi County.

The president made this known while speaking today in Nairobi when he opened the new ultra-modern Maktaba Kuu building which houses the Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) headquarters. The two-year virtual library project is being implemented by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage in partnership with the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund.

During his speech, president Uhuru stressed that an important part of the virtual library project is to ensure that all Kenyans wherever they are have access to reading materials. According to him, “ the elaborate and effective ICT infrastructure put in place within the facility will facilitate community access to online information and connect them to the rest of the world.” The President pointed out that Maktaba Kuu, which is the first multi-purpose library in Kenya, is part of his Administration’s promise to open new avenues for Kenyans to learn, obtain information, expand their intellectual horizons and promote a reading culture. He also noted that Maktaba Kuu is not just a building but an ever-broadening platform, from where Kenyans can build on existing knowledge to address our current societal challenges. According to him, “This marks an important milestone for us and for the future generations, who stand to benefit from our continued commitment to knowledge and information sharing.” Special features of the library building include a 300 capacity children theatre, a 50-capacity senior citizens section and four auditoriums with a combined capacity of 1,200 people tailored to provide spaces for local authors and artists to showcase their work. Also inside the facility is a 500-seater gallery dubbed Sanaa Centre which is available to local artists to showcase their artefacts. The new library building also has a section for persons with disability where books and other material are available in different formats including Braille, audiobooks and large print formats. According to President Uhuru, “Soon after the opening of the library, I am assured that Kisii sculptors will be the first group to showcase their work. I am pleased to note that some of the pieces to be showcased are available for viewing today.”

The new ultra-modern Maktaba Kuu building which houses the Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) headquarters.

President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged national and county leaders to ensure that libraries as information resource centers are strategically integrated into their development agenda. According to the president, “citizens need transformative and empowering information to enrich their lives and those of their communities.”

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