Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why I will cease borrowing books from the Kenya National Library here in Kisumu.

There are new membership rules at the library.
So, if you are a member of any KNLS branch in Kenya, then you must have noticed the changes.
First, the annual membership fee has been scrapped off, and this means that the library is open to anyone. I love this new move because it means that people can read as often as they want by simply walking into the library. Before this, if you did not have a membership card you would pay twenty shillings to access the library.

Now, if you want to borrow any book, you will pay twenty shillings to read it for two weeks. So, I took a step back when I heard this and thought, why?
I asked the librarian why these new rules were in place, and he said, "this is happening in all the libraries, it is a new policy."
I was not satisfied, and so I asked him to explain it to me, why would I pay to borrow books?
He could not answer me.
He shrugged his shoulders and at this point I started feeling confined, you know like I was in a lift full of people. I hate being in lifts.

So, now, book loan charges are twenty shillings per book for a reading period of two weeks. It means you pay forty shillings for the usual two books that you can check out. I asked him why they would not increase the number of books to five, and he said that it was not in his place to decide.

Here's my beef with this new rule: I read six or nine books within two weeks. Previously, I would make four or five trips to the library, but now I would make the same while incurring an extra cost of at least one hundred shillings, and that does not go down well with me!

But, this also means that the library would make money to probably sustain them, but my question is, why must it be at my expense? Why couldn't they increase my annual membership fee? I would gladly pay a one time sum instead of bits of money, as long as it means that I would have an unlimited access to the books.

This new move also means I can choose to read in the library, and if I do that, there's the issue of space. The other readers will do this, and the library in Kisumu is not as spacious as the one in Nairobi and that is an inconvenience.

I would recommend increasing the annual membership fee as long as it comes with unlimited access to books or increasing the number of books on loan to five, so that the cost incurred within a period of two weeks is solely dependent on what the reader wants.

PS: I have attached a screen shot of these new rules.