The key process

KEY has developed three turnkey models—a refurbished 20-40 foot container, a refurbished classroom, and a new-build school library. Each model is outfitted to ensure a safe, clean, and comfortable environment that promotes learning.

Our process consists of eight steps to ensure a smooth and effective library build, in which students are empowered by our Library Constitution.

We believe that democracy needs to be practiced to prepare students to participate in a democratic culture. Our libraries are governed and managed by a library council made up of students, a teacher and parent rep – our constitution requires that. The constitution integrates democratic values and rights and choice in the use, governance and management of the library. Before we provide libraries to communities and schools, a standard Library Constitution must be agreed upon and adopted by school boards and students.

School Library Projects

45 Libraries, and counting! Since the introduction of KEY libraries, our students cumulative mean test scores have increased by 8.67% in primary schools and by 15.61% in high schools. But most importantly, we have been able to open up a new world to these students, and their communities as a whole.

  • New Construction

    Mokwo Primary – Rural School

    Kaptarakwa Ward Elgeyo Marakwet

  • New Construction

    Kapkitony Girls Secondary – Rural School

    Kabiemit Ward Elgeyo Marakwet

  • Renovation

    Kimwarer Secondary – Rural Boys School

    Soy South Ward Elgeyo Marakwet

  • New Construction

    Kapchorwa Primary – Rural School

    Metkei Ward Elgeyo Marakwet

  • New Construction

    Chepketeret Coeducational Day and Boarding Rural Primary

    Kabiemit Ward Elgeyo Marakwet

  • Renovation

    Kapsabet High School – Boys National School


National Policy and Guidelines Framework for School Libraries in Kenya

In 2018 we worked in partnership with the Kenya Law Reform Commission, Kenya Library Association, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, The Goethe Institute and NGOs in education. Together, we drafted Kenya’s first National Policy and Guidelines Framework for School Libraries as a road map for building and monitoring 30,922 more libraries in Kenya.

Read the Policy (PDF)

Download PDF


Our libraries have been consecutive winners of the Maktaba Kenya Library of the Year Award, which recognizes the best public and private school libraries nationwide. The award is presented annually by the Goethe-Institut, the Kenya Library Association and the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation.

  • Nairobi Primary School

    Maktaba Awards 1st place 2013, Maktaba Awards 1st place 2014, Maktaba Awards 3rd place 2016. Public school category.

  • Starehe Girls Centre

    Maktaba Awards 1st place 2015. Maktaba Awards 3rd place 2017.

  • Metkei Girls Secondary School.

    Maktaba Awards 3rd place 2014.

  • Precious Blood Girls Secondary Riruta

    Maktaba Awards 3rd place, public school category, 2013. Attributable to Key library: eKitabu English Secondary Esssay 1st Runner up 2015. Niko Award 1st place for poetry 2015.

    Learn more

  • Kenya Fluorspar Company Primary

    Maktaba Awards 3rd place, private school category, 2013.

    Learn more


Access to a KEY library gives students not only an enriching educational experience, but also a chance to develop a strong, confident voice that will serve them on the world stage.

  • There’s a very wide choice of books. It is going to meet the interests of different people at their growth stage. It is going to challenge them in their thinking and in their understanding. It is also going to help them to learn a wide variety of subjects



    The Honourable Gerald Githinji
    Deputy Governor of Kiambu County

  • The new building is absolutely magnificent. The lighting is great. Plenty of natural light. The ability to get onto the internet because of the wifi, and I think that KEY have done an absolutely amazing job here, and I think it’s something that the girls of Starehe Girls’ Centre will benefit [from] for years and years to come.

    Les Bailie
    M-Pesa Foundation Executive Director

  • Often when people think about building a library they just think of putting up a building and throwing the books in. The great thing about this is, working with KEY, we are able to learn from their experiences, and so, the formula was very easy for us to follow to put it up. I’m also surprised at how quickly it came up. It seems like only the other day that we were breaking ground, and now, we have a fabulous library. The structure is good, the content is good, and the girls are really excited by it.

    Bob Collymore
    Safaricom CEO

  • This library represents an enormous investment in the education of the girls here. The books are beautifully chosen. The books are a window to a much wider world… The books are very high quality. They’ve been selected with enormous care, and they will show the girls things about the world that they wouldn’t otherwise get to know about. About art, about health, about government, about great literature. It’s an extraordinarily diverse selection of books that will teach them about the world in it’s breadth, but will also teach them about home. There’s a very good selection of African literature, and books about African history for example. Clearly these books are selected with great care. They are extremely current. They are the most recent version of the books that are available, and they’re supplemented by some computer banks that give the girls access to some of the best electronic information available.”

    David Angell
    High Commissioner of Canada to Kenya

  • I started reading the books and it gave me a lot of determination to work hard… to become a lawyer and return to build Sudan.

    Form 1 Student - Sudanese Refugee
    St. Patricks High School