International Journal of
Library and Information Science

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Lib. Inf. Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2537
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJLIS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 244


Challenges faced in establishing university libraries in Kenya

Otike Fredrick Wawire1* and Omboi Messah2
  1Kimathi University College of Technology (Nyeri-Kenya) P. O. Box 657 -10100 Nyeri, Kenya. 2Kenya Methodist University, P.O. Box 267-60200 Meru, Kenya.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 11 November 2010
  •  Published: 30 November 2010



The purpose of this article is to discuss and clearly bring out the major challenges faced in establishing University Libraries in Kenya. The paper first discusses the development of academic institutions and University Libraries in Kenya; it brings out the trend of both the private and public Universities and the major reason for the expansion of Universities in Kenya. The article later discusses the problems that are faced by university libraries in their establishment; it concludes by giving suggestions and recommendations to the problems. Universities in Kenya have gone through an era of renaissance in the field of education during the last two decades. In that period, the country experienced a phenomenal growth in the area of higher education when the number of public and private universities increased from four to over twenty. The country also encountered financial constraints due to poor economic performance which was characterized by rapid population growth and rising needs for basic services like primary education, food, health and shelter. Universities are therefore challenged to justify their existence. In turn, it is the university libraries that have been directly affected. The situation has made university libraries operate in an environment of tightened financial constraints. This is set against a background of continuous inflation in cost of information, especially in this age of ICT, changing technologies, few professional library staff without relevant skills to man the various library operations. Annual inflation rate of cost of information materials which is in excess of the library budget allocation, lack of cooperation among libraries, ignorance of university administrations on the importance of libraries, staff shortage e.t.c. The implication of this paper is that the role of university libraries and university librarians is likely to be looked down upon, if amicable solutions to the existing challenges are not addressed, libraries are important organs in Universities; they are the centre stage through which academic activities evolve therefore they should be treated as special entities. In order for effective service delivery, librarians are supposed to be kept abreast of the changing user information needs and the emerging technologies, which at the moment is proving to be a challenge. This paper highlights the major challenges faced by most University Libraries in Kenya; it brings out the impediments that hinder their establishment and development. It further concludes by suggesting the recommendations that ought to be considered.


Key words: Paraprofessional, information resources, information communication technology, academic library.