No two schools are alike, and as such, no two school libraries will every be exactly the same. Over the past five years at Knowledge Empowering Youth we have made a point of working with different kinds of school library scenarios, to create a range of library models that suited the unique situations you find on the ground in Kenya.
The Gundua schools in Meru County provided a new challenge for us. The Primary school and Secondary school were both in need of a library, however only the secondary school had the physical structure to support a library, and the budgeting did not allow for a new space to be built at the primary school. When KEY agreed to donate a library, we settled on a new model, that combined a primary school and secondary school library into one space on the secondary school grounds, and then set out a timetable so that both the primary school and secondary school had fair access to the books.
Gundua Primary is about a 5 minute walk from Gundua Secondary, and so we knew it was important to ensure that full library lessons could be booked by the primary school, and that there must be a mechanism in place for the teachers of the primary school to borrow numerous books at one time, to keep in their class, for the students to access on a daily basis.
This new library model for KEY has just been launched, and we will be going back to the schools next week to facilitate the training for it, and observe how the two schools and all of the students, use the library, thus allowing for any modifications. We can’t wait to see what the final results look like, to create a library model that can be replicated in other areas where two or more schools must share a library space – a practical solution to the all too common resource constraints in Kenya.