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Readers slowly trickling back to national libraries

Readers, especially students, have started to enjoy services at national library branches after the facilities resumed operations early this month.

            The number of those seeking the services is not as big as it used to be before the libraries were closed in March last year after Covid-19 pandemic was reported in the country.

            In Murang’a branch, the Librarian in charge, Carolyne Gacaku said they have received few readers after they resumed operations on February 1.

            Gacaku on Monday told KNA they are employing various methods to inform the locals about reopening of the facility so as to access books among other services rendered in the libraries.

            “This time due to Covid-19, we have reduced our capacity from 200 to 150 so that we can attain social distancing as required by the Ministry of Health. No reader is allowed in the library without donning a facemask. We also take and record temperatures of all those visiting the facility,” added Gacaku.

            The librarian said they have also adopted use of digital platforms to reach many readers as they can offer various reading materials through their website.

            “Digital reading is also being embraced by many readers and this also helps us to reduce congestion in the library. Currently students are in school so we expect to have many readers once schools and colleges break for vacation,” stated Gacaku.

            She observed that due to Covid-19, the library did not meet the attendance and revenue targets.

            “We could not raise revenue as expected since readers were kept off from our facilities, only a few could show up and borrow some books. We hope to do better in the remaining time of this financial year,” she said.

            The library has also been offering various online training to learners both in secondary schools and institutions of higher learning.

            “Online training on various courses like basic ICT skills, leadership, social media and cybercrime has been going on. The course time ranges from one week to two months. Many students have embraced these courses as they are issued with certificates after completion.” Gacaku further explained.

            The library in Murang’a has a total of 24,000 books, covering interests of all readers within the locality. The main interests of readers in the area are educational books in all levels of education, accountancy books and medical books.

by Bernard Munyao

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