Determinants of use of informal settlement community libraries by children in selected informal settlements in Nairobi County, Kenya
Kibugi, Sarah W.
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The existence of libraries in Africa goes back to the colonial period. A number of African nations have legislated the establishment of national libraries through Acts of parliaments. From such legislation, the Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) was established by an Act of parliament in 1967, with a mandate to establish libraries in the country (Mulindwa, 2010). Due to lack of capacity, such libraries have done little to establish community libraries in the slums of Kenya, and the few ones that the donors have established have not succeeded in encouraging their use due to such factors as lack of funds to stock a variety of resources required by children. This study sought to find out the determinants of use among the children in middle childhood in informal settlements in Nairobi. Specifically, the study sought to find out how geographical location, services and activities, resources available in the library and children’s perception about the library affect its use. The study was based on the theory of acceptance and use of technology. The study adopted correlational research design. The study was carried out in selected informal settlements community libraries in Nairobi. It covered six selected community libraries in the following informal settlements of Nairobi: Mathare North, Mathare 4A, Mradi Mathare, Mathare 2A, Korogocho, and Mukuru Kwa Njenga. The participants were selected through simple random sampling. The study covered 360 children, 36 Teachers and 18 library staff who were interviewed. Collected data was coded, classified and tabulated to facilitate analysis. SPSS was used to generate descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics from the children, library staff and teachers produced results on means and frequencies of responses. Qualitative data gathered from open ended questions were contently analysed to provide results. Multiple linear regression was used to generate inferential statistics. From the study, it was evident that geographical location, the services and activities offered and the children’s perception about the library contribute significantly to the use of the library. The study revealed that there was a positive correlation between the independent variables (geographical location, services and activities offered, resources available and children’s perception of the library) and the dependent variable (library use). This means that an increase in either of the independent variables would result to an increase in the use of the library by the children aged six to nine in the community libraries. From the findings it was established that the informal settlement community libraries need to improve their services and activities in order to maintain children’s interest in using them. The staff working in the informal settlement community libraries should form a network in which they can share success stories to demonstrate how their libraries serve children in middle childhood in the informal settlement community libraries. Finally, the community libraries should also strive to make their services and activities more attractive to children.