This project provides inventory and cataloguing for approx. 400,000 materials housed across all branches of Nairobi's iconic McMillan Memorial Library, providing digital records of the library's collection dating back to 1931. This project also provides access to contemporary storytelling and diversifies existing collections by adding children's titles by African authors.
Since being bequeathed to the city, little has been done to preserve or add to the McMillan Memorial Library's collection, in itself a monument to British settlement. The library and its two branches house art pieces, rare artefacts and approximately 400,000 individual books. This project catalogues existing collections and starts to diversify this for the more than 304 daily users of the library who through audience research, have indicated a need for contemporary content that reflects the city
This project is a critical element of the longer-term intention to transform these spaces into vibrant and functional community centres. Current collections will be catalogued while we grow contemporary collections for present and future use. During audience research conducted on this, we have learned that contemporary collections mirroring the continent's literary and other artistic developments are a top priority for users.
The inventory and cataloguing process will provide a clear picture of the library's current collection, estimated at 400,000. This will in turn inform the knowledge gaps to be filled, with children's collections as a starting point. This project also provides employment opportunities and expertise to university students, librarians, community mobilisers, educators and artists who contribute to the cataloguing and diversification of content process.