Malindi town residents have called on the government and donors to help construct a modern library in the tourist metropolis with a view to enhancing the reading culture among locals.
The residents, who are users of the Malindi Community Library, said the library in the town was too small compared to the number of users who patronize it and called for the construction of a bigger one.
At the same time, the library users thanked the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) for donating 12 desktop computers and a software that enable the visually impaired to read at the library.
Mr. Phillip Mutuku, who said he had been using the facility since he was a secondary student at a local school, said that the library has been helpful to him and lauded the CA for installing the computers at the
“The library has been helpful to me since I was in high school. I have been studying and researching on assignments here but I am glad that they have now installed computers and WiFi for users,” he said.
He said that with the WiFi and computers, users are able to research on a variety of topics and get information that may not be found in the books.
Nickson Mwangale, a student at the University of Nairobi (UoN), said that the furnishing of the library with computers had boosted his studies, noting that it had become easier to get data and conduct research compared to when he was using books only.
“There are books that you can’t find on hard copy and hence the internet helps to access online research materials,” said Mr. Mwangale, who is studying Economics at UoN.
Mr. Augustine Tinga, a resident who said he had used the library since he was young, urged the government to consider financing the construction of a new library in the town to increase space.
“I have been informed by the management that there is a plot earmarked for the construction of a bigger and modern library but funds are lacking to implement the project. I urge the Kilifi County and the national governments to fund the construction of the facility,” he said.
He said that the idea to equip the library with Information and Communication Technology (ICT equipment would enable many people to get interested in the library.
Mr. James Charo, a volunteer at the facility lauded the modernization of the library adding that it had helped attract more people saying this would help improve the reading culture.
“The reading culture in Malindi is not there and we need to enlighten members of the community on the importance of a library,” he said.
He also said that young users were also benefitting from basic computer studies and they are issued with certificates once they complete the basic lessons.
“I teach the students digital skills that act as a foundation for their future ambitions. The certificates can help them get jobs,” he said.
Mrs. Sarah Buganga, a chief librarian, said the the number of visitors had started increasing after the installation of the computers, forcing the library management to receive users in shifts due to inadequate space.
He said the library receives users ranging from kids in kindergartens, pupils, students and grownups, adding that this had made it necessary to have computers solely for junior users who are monitored to ensure they do not access inappropriate content.
She said the new software for the visually impaired users known as SupaNova had a magnifier effect and a screen reader that enables partially blind persons to read with ease.
“The CA has made it possible for the visually impaired people to access the digital learning platform but very few people know about it and we request that those with visual impairment and need to read should come here to use the facility,” says Mr. Buganga.