At a village square in Kalkach, nine kilometres from Wajir town, librarians command two camels to kneel down.
Nearby under an acacia tree, a group of enthusiastic children and adults watch as the librarians unload wooden boxes full of books. After the contents are spread around on mats, the children and adults swarm over the books to choose one to read in the shade.
Thousands of residents of North Eastern Province have benefitted from the Camel Mobile Library, a service that was initiated by the Kenya National Library Services in 1996 to improve literacy in the region.
The library mostly provides books that aid students learning English in line with the national school curriculum, he said. The mobile library operates Monday through Thursday between 8 am and 6 pm.
“Members can borrow up to two books for 14 days until the mobile library returns to the same centre, and then they can renew their books or return them for new ones.”
While the services have improved the accessibility of books to many citizens, there is the potential to further increase access and reduce the high illiteracy rate in the province. The libraries are also helping to cultivate a culture of reading among disadvantaged segments of society that are not near stationary libraries and would otherwise be left behind