The Kenya National Library Service was established in 1965. The Meru Branch of the KNLS was established in 1985. There are four branches in Meru so far. The country has a total of 62 public libraries; the youngest library will be the branch at Gatimbi which will make the total number of public libraries in Kenya 63.
According to Robert Wanjohi, the County Librarian in Meru says Meru Library was number two at Maktaba Awards in 2012 and number three in2013. These awards look at how the libraries work in collaboration with their communities. The Meru Library has a special needs training that equips children with special needs with ICT skills. The libraries partner with CAK (Communication Authority of Kenya) to provide better services to the communities around them.
The libraries offer Microsoft office packages for free. You take an exam online and get a certificate after successful completion.
Robert Wanjohi isn’t worried that ICT is going to overtake physical books and we as The Ameru agree with him. We have had a very beautiful idea for a few months now. It’s beautiful because we believe so. No, we are not arrogant; we just have an uncanny love for books.
Apart from sharing stories about our people, the other reason this blog was born was the love for reading we both share. My cofounder Mwenda while in primary read all the books that were in the tiny library it’s more of a small room but he insists it was a library in his school. He read all of them; they were more than five hundred if you must get a threshold. He then started reading everything else he could find. I, on the other hand, went to a school where reading a storybook was an abomination. I had grown up reading but in my first primary school, if you were found with a storybook you were punished until I went to a different school where books were like free roaming animals. The first school created such a thirst in me that my mother quenched easily as she worked in a library in a high school in my locality aka ushago. Not many children in the rural setup have that privilege.
Now the idea is this we want to donate books to primary schools in Meru. We are starting with lower primary.We will obviously begin with Gitura and Katheri because we are very familiar with our home areas then slowly we will try cover as many schools in Meru as we can. Also because it’s home.
If you need reasons as to why reading is one of the best skills you can introduce to a child here are a few:
- Reading stimulates the brain
- It helps children gain knowledge
- Vocabulary Expansion
- Memory Improvement
- Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills
- Improved Focus and Concentration
- Better Writing Skills
- Academic excellence
- Better communication skills
- Mastery of language
- Acclimation to new experiences
- The knowledge that reading is fun!
- Positive Networking
Too many? Okay, sorry but you get the point. Also, we will be focusing on public primary schools. This is because most children in public schools do not have the trappings of the reading resources as those in private schools and these children are competing for the same positions with every other child in the country. Opportunity doesn’t choose what school you went to, it happens to those who are prepared and if reading can improve opportunities for our communities here at The Ameru we will work day and night to ensure our communities grow.
We currently have twenty-five books ready to be donated. These are books we have bought. A book for a child between the ages of four to ten goes for between Ksh 100 and Ksh 300. These are the prices in the streets in what we famously call INAMA bookstores and also in bookshops. You can buy a book and we will organize how to collect it or if you have old books in your house you can tell us and we will gladly take it off your hands. As you can tell we are still new at this so we will organize a better way to collect the books then we will come back here next week tell you about it and we can educate our communities together. #TUSOME #AMERU