When Nakuru based blogger Joseph Ngugi heard about the free sign language classes being offered at Kenya National Library Nakuru branch, he was among the first to register. Two months down the line, he can comfortably communicate with people with hearing disabilities even as he continues to take the lessons.
“As a blogger, I have always wanted to train others how to do it. Being unable to communicate with the hearing impaired has always been a big letdown as I have a few friends with this disability. However after these lessons am able to share with my friends and I hope I’ll soon be able to hold a blogging workshop specifically for the deaf,” says Ngugi.
Ngugi is among the thousands who continue to benefit from the various programs offered at the ultra-modern library in Nakuru Town. Apart from the sign language classes, he has also attended several practical skills training sessions and workshops at the Library.
For Gad Moseti, now an accountant in Thika town, the Library was his second home and were it not for the facility, he may not have achieved his dream of becoming an accountant.
“I always wanted to study accounts but being a casual worker in Nakuru town, my income was very low and I could not manage to pay for college or buy the books required for the course,” reveals Gad. He however adds that after he registered with KASNEB, the library provided the space for study and most of the reading material he required until he finished his course.
The modern multi storied library was officially opened on 14th May 2014 by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario. The library has since then been attracting a lot of people.
Many people associate the library only with books but there are a lot of other activities and facilities that keep drawing people in.
According to Ms. Purity Kavuri, the Librarian in Charge, the new library has a capacity of 2,500 users. It provides adequate reading space, online information resources, accessibility for persons with disabilities, limited print information resources and a conducive reading environment.
The most popular service is the free internet access through Wi-Fi and high speed computers at the E-Resource Section and at the American Corner (AC) which takes the entire second floor.
Ms. Angella Nyamisi who is the American Corner coordinator says that the AC is fully facilitated by the American Embassy in Nairobi and apart from the computers; they have also provided books, magazines and standalone life scale photos and paintings that depict the American way of life.
“We really appreciate what the US embassy is doing to our library to promote education and empower the local communities,” says Angella. She reveals that the latest program by the Embassy is to sponsor bright but needy students from Nakuru to study in the US.
“The program was initiated last year and several students who were successful have already secured places in the US. Others from the first batch are still awaiting their admission letters and we are now in the process of preparing the second batch of students,” says an excited Angella.
The US embassy also regularly facilitates training of practical skills to youth at the AC. Some of the skills that the youth have benefited from include, bead work, making shaggy mats, crocheting and such.
The library has also partnered with a Canadian organization and they offer free entrepreneurial and basic ICT courses to form four leavers for free. The Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) has been offering the courses since October 2014 and according to Faith Kemboi a facilitator with DOT, more than 500 young people have so far benefited from the program and some are already earning from the skills learnt.
The friendly library and support staff make everyone’s experience at the library enjoyable. The security guards reassure the users of their security and that of their property and the dedicated cleaning staff keep the premises clean at all times.
For their outreach activities, the library has several activities that see them serve the community surrounding the Library. The staff at the library’s junior section have started book clubs in several primary schools around the library and once per week they take books to the schools and read with the kids.