Transforming African Libraries with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
By Susan Moody
Great news from the field: we successfully kicked off an e-reader pilot in eight Kenyan libraries thanks to our partnership with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Now patrons in eight new communities will have access to over 50,000 e-books. Project LEAP (Libraries, E-reading, Activities, Partnership) is exciting because it’s the first pilot using e-readers in libraries in the developing world. Here you can see the first Kenyan librarians to have Kindle Paperwhites– it’s like peering into what the future of libraries will look like.
The Goal of Project LEAP is to both gather impact learnings and operational learnings so we can scale up in more African libraries and ultimately libraries around the world serving low-income patrons.
Ruth Jemo, County Librarian Kakamega County said: “E-readers will give our patrons a big boost. We have students who come to the library everyday to do their homework because they would not otherwise access books. They will now access course books as well as other reading material. Some of these children don’t even have shoes, but they value reading and they come here everyday…”
Caroline Kayoro who is in charge of Programmes and Development at Kenya National Library Services said: “The shelf life for a printed children’s book in the library is 6 months. With e-readers children will have access to books for up to four years without replacements. If anything, they will add to the library of books. This is a major cost saving for Kenya National Library Services.”
Stay tuned more more information on this exciting project!