The Nyeri Department of Gender, Youth, Sports and Social Services will take over the management of all libraries in the county, Gender CEC, Esther Ndung’u has revealed.
Ndung’u noted that the transition was in line with the fourth schedule of the constitution which transferred library services to the devolved units.
She said that the changeover follows the completion of a comprehensive transition framework by the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) addressing human and budgetary resources which will see her department take on the reins of the four libraries in Nyeri starting July 1.
“The process started way back in 2018 and we have been having communication with the IGRTC regarding the transfer of all functions. The IGRTC has also held meetings with the County Public Service Board because they will also be transferring employees and their salaries to the county government. Following the culmination of the process, the Nyeri, Karatina, Chinga and Munyu libraries will now be transitioned to the county governments effective July 1,” she said.
Speaking to KNA on phone, Ms Ndung’u acknowledged the critical role that libraries play in the access to information, fostering a reading culture and promoting learning. She said that the department would embark on mapping exercise in a bid to align library services to the demands of the digital era and improve service delivery.
“We are visiting the libraries and identifying areas that we can leverage on, especially technology. In today’s digital era, libraries provide much-needed access to technology. Public libraries, in particular, offer free internet access, research assistance, e- books, audio books and online databases to bridge the digital divide thus addressing the changing needs of their communities. We are at the same time identifying any challenges that we need to resolve going forward,” stated the CEC.
In February this year, the National government allocated Sh 425 million to the 33 counties that have national libraries. The money was to cater for the transfer of Library Services to the counties. According to the 2023 Budget Policy Statement, the amount was to be transferred to counties as equitable share in three phases.
“This will be 100 per cent for the financial year 2023/2024, 75 per cent for 2024/2025 with the balance of 25 per cent to be shared as equitable share and 25 per cent for the financial year 2025/2026 with the 75 per cent balance to be shared as equitable share,” reads the statement.
The Budget Policy Statement however noted that after the three financial years, the 33 county governments would be required to integrate the salaries of the library staff into their respective payrolls after which the Sh 425 million would be released to all 47 counties as equitable share.