The Siaya Community Library

Project Representative
Mr. John Ahaya Malamba
Creation Date: 2014
Headquarters: Siaya County, Kenya
Geographical Reach: National
Nature and number of beneficiaries: Children of all ages

The Siaya Community Library

About the Project

The Siaya Community Library is a project of Integrated Development Africa Programme (IDAP), which is a regional non-profit development NGO registered and operating in Kenya.
The Library is registered as a community based organization by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social development. IDAP launched this project in the pursuit of support to education programs, including adult literacy, rural schools to provide a center for community education and cultural activities.
Construction of the Siaya Community Library was funded by the World Bank. The project was completed in late 2014. In the meantime, the county government of Siaya offered to provide space for the Library at the Siaya Cultural Centre, Department of the Ministry of Culture for more than two years. The management of the Library and the Integrated Development Africa Programme, the sponsor of the library project, are grateful to the World Bank, the government of Kenya, the county government of Siaya and all other stakeholders.

The main beneficiaries of the library services are multicultural, occupational, civic and other community groups. The Library patrons encompass working professionals, women and women groups, youths in and out of school, as well as marginalized groups and farmers in Siaya County. It plans to offer a wide range of children's activities for parents, including caregivers and activities for young children during term period and school holidays.

Context and Issue

Siaya Library is the first and only library in Siaya County.The library had received support from different partners including the America Friends of Kenya who played a big role by donating books and shelves shipped from USA. The Worldreader team helped to promote readership through sponsorship of e-book devices to support the library.

The World Bank team helped to construct the library building. But we need more support in terms of funding for administration; we have shortage of furniture as well computers and other educational materials due to lack of seed funding.

The Library is the only one of its kind in Siaya County and runs a wide range of services for the community. It makes use of a two-way information flow so that external information and local knowledge is shared. Its main services comprise providing reading materials, including formal educational resources and locally produced information pamphlets on agriculture, health and literacy.

Solution and Impact

The Siaya Community Library carries a wide variety of resources for adults: The latest bestsellers, hardcover and paperback books, large print books, newspapers, magazines, audio books, DVDs and compact discs. It also offers a range of services and items for loan to teens such as novels and curriculum books. It now also provides access to books through information technology by use of e-book devices.

Looking ahead, the Siaya Community Library will strive to ensure that its collections remain forward-looking, diverse in breadth and form, open to browsing, and of world-renowned quality. Through promotion, the Library will continuously make people aware of the resources available to them, and through innovation, make access to these resources easier. It will also create an integrated, seamless web of information to further streamline access. To serve future users, the Library will preserve information across all formats and ensure effective storage and delivery systems.

Plans are in place to ensure that the Library’s physical and virtual spaces respond to the changing habits of users to enrich the community experience and to multiply the ways in which people can pursue inquiry.
The Library’s collaboration with expanding circles of partners like American Friends of Kenya (AFK), the County Government, Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Publishers (K) LTD, Phoenix Publishers (K) LTD, the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Gender & Social Development, Kenya Library Association among others has yielded a unified access that broadens knowledge, and enhanced services.

The Siaya Community Library will continue to embrace change and align itself to thrive on diversity, to support professional growth and opportunity, and to reward flexibility and innovation to ensure its sustainability. To this end, we call upon other development partners to come on board so we can promote a culture of reading in our society. The Library still has computers with which it will conduct training activities at a small fee. We welcome any form of support from philanthropists and other willing partners. The Siaya Community Libaray has become a model that will be replicated in every Sub-County in the larger Siaya County.
1. To be the most accessible community library that enables the youth to evolve into engaged citizens and adults to connect, relax and increase knowledge.
2. To provide excellent library services in a safe, inspiring and attractive environment conducive for learning, creativity and enjoyme

Future Developments

We are planning to expand the library building once funding is be available; later we will start to replicate the community library in each and every sub county of Siaya, and introduce mobile library services in the whole county of Siaya. We have already developed a mobile library proposal that we are seeking for partners who can come in for support.

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