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all shelves purchased

Sipili Community Library (Laikipia West)


Basic Information

Laikipia. Our first rural library! Laikipia is 240 KM outside of Nairobi. Sipili, where the library will be is 60 KM outside of Nyahururu towards Samburu district. This is an area of conflict between Samburu and Pokot. The library we hope will help in conflict resolution, through being a community based organisation, involving all community members, regardless of tribe.

On first visiting this area it seems that no one lives there, but there are schools hidden away everywhere - including a school for the deaf. These school invariably do not perform as well as they should in national exams due to lack of resources. We want to give these children- and their families- a chance by giving them access to knowledge, and support the schools through supporting the curriculum.

This library will be organised by a committee of 10 local community members- 5 of whom are members of the group who have donated the land.- who are a registered CBO (Community Based Organisation).

Until the new building is available we have made the Information Centre/ Library in a Lariak Primary school , who have donated two large classrooms (currently not in use) .

We have a donor!!!

The refurbishment of the rooms has been donated by The Australian High Commission! The final reports for their records was submitted May 30th 2007. We were able to refurbish the rooms (mend the roof, install power to the two rooms, attach grills to the windows, install a ramp and move the front door (making it secure at the same time) fence off the two rooms so that visitors to the centre will not disturb the school day to day running, a partition installed to separate the two rooms again when needed, and gaps in the walls replaced with two new windows. We have also had furniture made to a very high standard, and purchased stationary to process the books. Unfortunately because we had to install the two new windows we had to forgo the carpeting... so we are looking for a donor to give us some carpeting!! All furniture made for this building will be movable to the new building when the time comes.


January 2007 May




January 2007 May

Stock -UPDATED Sept/ October 2007!

Stock for this exciting project has arrived from Canada, thanks to Sheri Harper in Canada for collecting up the books, and to Muthaiga Rotary Club here in Nairobi for paying for and organising the shipment of the books! After initially planning to unpack and sort the consignment in Nairobi first, we decided to transport the boxes up to the centre in Sipili and sort them out there.

The books were transported in September, so unpacking was followed by training of the 4 staff ( chosen by the library committee).Thanks to Eunice Muthoni for donating the truck to transport the books!

Kids Library September 2007


Volunteers are now working! We have 4 volunteers who have started their training:

Joseph, Martha, Joffry, and Rosemary

February 2008. Anne has rented two rooms in Sipili to advance the work in the library. She is staying with a family, and has her German Shepherd dog (Kimbe) with her! The work is advancing now at a greater pace.

The challenges here are great, and of a different nature to the slum areas of Nairobi. Here the sight of white skin still equals money. We are also fighting against the reputation of international donors who have been cheated by local members of the community, making those community members very rich. This makes the idea of doing something with no backhanders much more difficult to achieve. Also getting all community members involved is a real challenge, as education means very little to pastoralists (Pokot, Turkana, Samburu). Even local teachers (particularly primary level) have a hard time understanding the concept of informal learning. Understanding of English is also a real challenge, but as all the library stock is in English this challenge has to be met.

Anne hopes to be able to release funds to purchase more shelving after Easter, and after next KidsLibs Trustees meeting , scheduled for 30th March 2008. These funds have been donated by Bakewell Rotary Club in the UK, who are also funding Anne's rent etc whilst she is staying in Sipili. THANK YOU!!!

East African Womens League (EAWL) have donated us a large piece of carpet! KidsLibs paid for this to be transported to Sipili, where - once the roof is repaired again- it will be laid.

The CBO is now trying to find means of sustainability before the centre opens (hopefully June 2008). They are approaching the local MP for CDF money (Community Development Fund)

April 2008 -updated!

Well, the carpet has been laid, all shelving purchased, and the library is looking good!! We plan to open on June 7th. The Children's library stock will be complete by wednesday this week, leaving only the adults library to complete. The Romance section is catalogued, leaving only the other catagorised fiction sections to do (Horror, Science fiction/ Fantasy, Westerns, War and Thrillers), and the non fiction.

adults study area



Children's library

April 13th 2008


The library committee is still being worked on to get them to organise sustainability for the new centre. I am now down to two staff members, who are enthusiastic, and see the real need of the centre. Unfortunately the ladies did not work out, which was sad.

I have also managed to find a local teacher who is keen to organise an adults drama group based at the library. Also a young man called John, who is keen both to start art clubs for children, and to start a children's drama group. He has already approached Sunday Schools for recruits!! I am still trying to find a volunteer for musical activities.

The Proposed new Information Centre - Our Dream!!! UPDATED!

Symbion Architects have finished a wonderful design for this centre! They have done this work for free!! We are now trying to find donors to provide us with the 23 million Kenya shillings required to build the centre (plus the builder costs, and plus furniture!). The centre will make use of solar energy for power and for water heating.

Anne visited the proposed plot of land for the new centre. We have 1/2 an acre in an ideal location, near to one of the primary schools, a secondary school, the school for the Deaf, and to a local clinic , also near to the centre of town.

We also hope after the centre is built to run mobile library units to more remote areas. On these we can offer information on HIV aids etc using video etc. We will need to take a small generator and video facilities. We also plan to have a school bus to transport children from remot schools to visit the centre. We think that a rescue vehicle may also be needed in case of problems with either of these vehicles.

Currently we are looking for donors to build the centre, but first we have to acquire the Title Deed for the plot of land, which will guarantee ownership- a BIG issue here in Kenya. Two contractors have already been approached for their ideas on building costs, availaility of materials etc. Watch this space for developments!!


Membership and Staffing

The library will be open to everyone and will be free like all our other libraries.. It will be staffed by volunteers , then by a paid staff member with the help of 2 unpaid volunteers when the library opens.


Funding so Anne can stay in Sipili until the centre opens (in June- Hopefully) Much of this has been provided by Bakewell Rotary Club in the UK.

Funding to build the new centre.










Opened June 7th 2008!!!

We opened the doors to the community very quietly at 12pm! The drama group performed to our visitors from Nairobi (members of staff from the other KidsLibs Centres), as did the drama group from Lariak Day secondary school!




drama group


Since opening we have nearly 624 members! Joseph, who runs the library has started a library club amongst the children (15 members so far) who help with library duties, and take responsibility for their library! They are rewarded with seeing all new books first!

John runs the junior drama group, and has been working with the local school for the deaf, creating dramas with the deaf children, and teaching them how to use the library. John also created the wonderful mural on the outside wall of our library.

We have our first Wazee group here! about 10 men over the age of 65 come to use the centre, and are reading their way through the stock! One of these members has already read his way through the 59 Western titles in the adults fiction section!!


We are still looking for sustainability for this centre. We hope to get a tractor donated, which we can hire out for ploughing etc which will not only sustain the existing centre, but may enable us to start building our dream centre here!



This is an area of instability. There has been rioting here over issues from cow ownership to tribal origins, to ownership of land etc. There are many ethnic groups here: Turkana, Pokot, Samburu, Kikuyu, Kalangen.. plus several others. Through the library we can help bring these groups together through their children, and help them to understand each other.

Girl child issues

Here is quite remote. Many girls still are married at 12 years old to men of over 50, and some still suffer from female circumcision- which is actually illegal under Kenyan law-. We hope to start a girls club, where girls can come together to talk about girl issues (boyfriends, education, books, clothes, make up, school, their rights... anything at all!). The Girlchild Network is coming to Sipili in December 2008 to start the groundwork for this. KidsLibs has other inspirational speakers lined up to talk to the girls, so they can learn new things, and have dreams and choices.



Anne, Oct 2005 MVH,Sept 2005