Books Inspire Readers of All Ages in Kenya

Books For Africa is pleased to share the latest report from Kenya from librarian Esther Muinde, a recipient of Kenya Connect in Wamunyu, Kenya. She reports on the progress and usefulness of the community library, comprising 30,000 books, over half of which were supplied by Books For Africa.

The library program had previously operated as a mobile library with books transported around. But with the latest shipment from Books For Africa, they have been able to stock a full in-house library!

Their library team has been hard at work ensuring the books are catalogued and well-arranged, and the books are taken to schools during library days.  Students have been able to access books at the library during school holidays, and the library is also used by teachers and other professionals for research purposes.

The library received some big picture books for their collection, which are used for reading aloud. The library also received a Girls Empowerment Collection through the Kenya Connect project.  Ann, one of the girls empowerment readers, enjoyed the book "Girls Can Be Engineers" by Jamila H. Lindo, and after reading, said, "I can be anything I want and I should not let other people discourage me."

Back when the books first arrived, Books For Africa also heard from Kenya Connect Container Captain Sharon Runge, who recounted some stories from distribution.

"March 22 was a BIG Day in Wamunyu! An 18 wheeler arrived with 20,000 books from Books For Africa! 

"But it's not just about getting the books for our library.  It's about the power of books to transform. As the boxes of books were being unloaded, we saw this power in action.


"Ruth, a single mom of two, came to help unload the books. Working odd jobs to support her girls, she came to earn a few dollars. She loved school, but could not attend secondary school due to the lack of fees. While transporting the pallets from the 18 wheeler to the Library Learning Center, one pallet fell, spilling books all over. Ruth picked a big book smiling from ear to ear. 

"It turns out Ruth loves storybooks, especially anything to do with animals. Every break or time they had to wait for the forklift, Ruth would pick a new big book, sit on the floor, and read to herself or aloud to the guys. The day culminated with Ruth signing up for a Library Card.

"Schools resumed in the beginning of May and our Magic School Bus has been visiting schools with some of our new books for School Library Days.  Student Monicah loves the new selections. 'Borrowing books from Kenya Connect Library means I learn new vocabulary and improve my writing skills. The books are good and have interesting stories that will help me develop creativity and learn more about the earth and important people in Africa.' Teacher Daniel was also excited about the selections from Books for Africa.  He shared, 'The books are captivating for learners to read because they have interesting pictures and will inspire learners to continue reading and improving their reading skills. Some of the books are focusing on Africa as a content which is exciting for our students.'

Librarian Esther Muinde has been busy cataloging the books and putting them in our new Library. 'I am thrilled that our library is filled with high quality books from Books for Africa. Students, parents, and teachers are checking them out and experiencing the joy, wonder and knowledge that books provide.'  This donation grew our library collection of 10,000 to 30,000. We now can allow the 18,000 students in our community to borrow even more books!

Read the full report from Wamunyu here, or check out some photos from the most recent distribution below or in our Flickr album!

Photos from Kenya Connect