Over the past three months, not only has the way of life for most of the global population changed in some way, but worldviews and belief systems for many have also likely been affected in ways that will unfold for years to come. While government resources and policy development have had to prioritize the response to COVID-19, the pandemic has also underscored how important it is for Kenyans to have equitable access to information that is credible, vetted, and diverse. Without equitable access to information resources where citizens can pursue questions and lines of inquiry with the guidance of a trained librarian, rumors and misinformation can flourish uncorrected.
While mobile phone penetration in Kenya surpassed 100 percent in 2018, helping facilitate connections to social media content and any new clip or theory which has gone viral, few Kenyans have access to a well-stocked library with trained librarians who can help them access and navigate through information, including understanding the credibility of sources and the impact that has on the news being delivered. Learning these skills through continuous exposure to well-run libraries, which should start in primary school, also helps in building a lifetime interest in learning and inquiry. When these skills are weak, the implications can be dangerous. This has been seen firsthand with the rapid spread of misleading or wholly inaccurate rumors relating to COVID-19, and underscores that ensuring as many youth in Kenya have access to libraries is more important now than ever before.