7 months since beginning our cataloguing process, our team of 6 have catalogued a total of 90,594 books, newspapers and journals, with all cataloguing at the three branches (CBD, Kaloleni and Eastlands) now complete!
Uncovering treasures of the past
Through this process we have uncovered some rare gems within the library's rich collection including newspapers dating back to 1906, photos of Kenya's first institutional hanging in 1902, building the port in Kilindini, to laying the railway across the Rift Valley, as well as iconic photographs from Tom Mboya's funeral, witnessed by Obama Snr in July 1969. The collection also contains old maps, reports and government meeting minutes dating back to 1931 when the library was opened. In cataloguing this material, we have uncovered its salience in Kenyan colonial and postcolonial history, African studies, peace and conflict studies and human rights studies in former settler colonies. The rich newspaper collection includes reports of key historical events like the Mau Mau uprising, a significant era in the national struggle for independence. Other key moments documented in this period are political assassinations, social and cultural developments, human rights movements and exploitative land acquisition laws.
We are extremely grateful to all our kind and generous donors and friends of Book Bunk who have supported us through this cataloguing project. There are thousands of inspiring projects on GlobalGiving, so we’re grateful you chose to support our work. Thank you for being a part of our team of supporters that are making our project a reality.
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7 months since beginning our cataloguing process, our team of 6 have catalogued a total of 55,992 books, newspapers and journals, with all cataloguing at the two smaller branches (Kaloleni and Eastlands) now complete!
Since mid-July, our team of 6 have been working hard to catalogue the library's rich collection at the main branch on Banda Street in Nairobi's Central Business District, which houses archives dating back to the early 1900s. We have since catalogued various archives including newspapers dating back to 1906, photos of Kenya's first institutional hanging in 1902, as well as iconic photographs from Tom Mboya's funeral, witnessed by Obama Snr in July 1969. Tom Mboya (Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya) was a Kenyan trade unionist, educationist, Pan Africanist, author, independence activist, Cabinet Minister and one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Kenya. He was born and raised on Juja farm in Ol Donyo Sabuk where his father worked as a casual labourer at Lord Northrup Mcmillan’s sisal farm. He later lived in Kaloleni Estate and often convened with President Jomo Kenyatta and former Ugandan President Milton Obote in Kaloleni Social Hall (adjacent to the library) for political meetings. Mboya also helped design the Kenyan national flag, as well as shape the independence movement and the KANU political party. In the critical pre-independence decade he spent a year at the University of Oxford and in 1959, he founded the African-American Students Foundation to raise funds to send East African university students to study abroad in the United States. His assasination in 1969 devastated the country and still remains one of Kenya's biggest murder mysteries of all time.
Meet Orpah- Inventory Intern and Hepa Jam Tutor
Orpah Agunda is a pre-school teacher by profession with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. She is also a proud mother of five. She is heading our homework clubs at the library, a programme in which the libraries are open for extended hours (5-8pm on weekdays, 1-4pm on Saturdays). When she’s not working at McMillan Library, she can be found spending quality time with her children. Her highlight of the cataloguing process has been discovering the diversity of the library’s collection which not only carries academic books but also house-keeping books on how to care for your cleaning mop! After her internship, Orpah plans to continue partnering with Book Bunk by spreading the word to other mothers about the treasure trove of knowledge contained in the library.
4 months since beginning our cataloguing process, our team of 6 have catalogued a total of 42, 469 books, with all cataloguing at the two smaller branches (Kaloleni and Eastlands) now complete!
The oldest newspaper in Kenya's second oldest library!
In mid-July, we began the inventory process at the main branch on Banda Street in Nairobi's Central Business District, which houses archives dating back to the early 1900s. We have since catalogued the Africanah collection here ( a collection focused on Africa that has been a key resource for academics and researchers) as well as the Newspaper collection. Amongst some of the material we have recorded here includes early editions of The Standard. The oldest newspaper in the country, it was started as a weekly by Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee in 1902. In 1905, it was sold to Maia Anderson and Rudolph Mayer, who changed the name to The East African Standard. Lonrho Group bought the paper in 1963 and in 1995, it wa sold to Kenyan investors. The oldest edition catalogued at the McMillan Memorial Library is from 1906, and we are thrilled to explore access possibilities for the general public in the coming months!
Meet Marion, our Lead Cataloguing Intern
Marion heads our inventory intern team, and is a recent Bachelor of Arts graduate from the University of Nairobi. When she is not cataloguing at McMillan Memorial Library, she is either indulging in fiction or writing book reviews on culture and fashion. Her cataloguing highlight has been coming across and reading excerpts from her literary favourites including Langston Hughes. Once she completes her internship, she plans to continue working with Book Bunk to nurture a reading culture across Nairobi and Kenya!
We've been busy with our cataloguing process, which began on 29th April 2019. Nearly a month in, we have completed this process at the Kaloleni branch, the smallest of the three, cataloguing just under 4,000 books! This is in large part to your support!
The cataloguing process is being conducted by 6 interns, working in teams of 3, in shifts. Through your support, we have been able to purchase the material we require for this process, and also pay wages to our 6 lovely interns, most of whom are university students.
Data is currenly being stored on Book Bunk's google cloud storage, with this data to be transferred into the library's network system once this is built. Along with general information about books - ISBNs, Publisher, Year Publication and authors' details, we have also been recording the last year that these books were borrowed. This is providing us with quite a bit of insight into the popularity of some material in past years, and this information will inform our future book donation drive as well as acquisitions.
With cataloguing at the Kaloleni branch complete, we have now moved on to the Eastlands branch, and began the same process there on Monday 20th May 2019.
Since launching our crowdfunding campaign towards cataloguing existing collections housed across all three branches of the library, we have raised a total of $6,342 from 50 donors. Your donation has enable us to plan for our inventory process. Here are some highlights;
Need for Cataloguing: There is still little to no knowledge about the size of the collections housed in the three libraries. The staff estimate is 400,000+ books and objects, and this inventory process aims to provide a definite number as well as identify content gaps.
Staffing for Research and Inventory: Our call-out for a Research and Inventory lead received 204 applications while a call for volunteers to assist in this process elicited 418 applications. We are currently interviewing for this lead role as well as volunteers, closing this process by 1st April 2019.
Timelines: We will be training our new Inventory lead as well as volunteers for the inventory process from 3rd- 5th April 2019, with cataloguing set to begin in the Kaloleni branch on 8th April 2019, lasting until mid-June. This process will involve recording of ISBNs, year of publication, condition of book/object and all other necessary data. In the meantime, we have begun building a wishlist of books for children and will be adding to this throughout the inventory process.
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