Going green to embrace aesthetic reflections and sustainable library buildings: a case of USIU Library as a benchmark of Kenyan libraries

Arnold Mwanzu 

Information Resource Centre, International Centre of Insect Physiology & Ecology (icipe), Nairobi, Kenya.

E-mail address: amwanzu@icipe.org

Copyright © 2017 by Arnold Mwanzu. This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0


Academic libraries in Kenya have not trailed in accelerating IFLA trends and the universal effort of creating innovative and engaging learning environments to users. Efforts to achieve dynamic libraries are envisioned by the transformation and development of library buildings. Current library designs have a combination of concepts from many stimulating non-academic environments, re-purposed to create a place that attracts students, making them want to study, research and interact while preserving the ideals of a library. Like in developed countries, technology and innovation have paved major breakthroughs in library spheres to endeavour relevance in a time where competition is rife from other industry players. USIU-A library is touted as the pioneer of ultra-modern library design with aesthetic reflection and has been used as a trendsetting benchmark by the recently erected library structures across Kenya. The shift was necessitated by the need to remain relevant in an ever-changing information society, that has experienced unprecedented growth in technology, convergence of culture, and what Thomas Friedman would call the flattening of the world.

This paper examines the strides taken by academic libraries in Kenya to match the standards of modern Library buildings including going green whilst highlighting ensuing impact on user satisfaction. It will give insight on and provide a comprehensive comparison between Kenyan modern libraries and other modern libraries in the world which are considered best library designs, to show progressive development of library design and sustainable library buildings. 

This paper will answer the following questions; how far are Kenyan libraries in embracing environment friendly buildings? What is the impact of artistic modern library designs and going green to user satisfaction; what are the effects of natural environments on libraries. In addressing this and other related questions, the design of new libraries in Kenya over the past eight years is traced.

Keywords: Transformation; Green Libraries; Aesthetic Reflections; Ambiance.


Presentation: pdf

curriculum vitae

Arnold Mwanzu

Arnold Mwanzu is the Head Librarian and Information Resource Centre Coordinator at International Centre of Insect Physiology & Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi Kenya. Previously, he was a Senior Librarian, and Head of Archives/Digital Repository at the United States International University (USIU) Library and Information Centre. He holds a Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Kenyatta University, Kenya; an MSc in Organizational Development from USIU-Africa, and a Management Information Systems certification (Lib@web Programme) from University of Antwerp, Belgium. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Information Science at Moi University, Kenya. Professionally, he is a Standing Committee member of the IFLA preservation & Conservation section 2017-2019; he is an executive board member in the Kenya Library & Information Science Consortium (KLISC), and a member of the AfLIA Academic & special Libraries Section. He is also the Country coordinator for INASP in charge of promotion and marketing of e-resources. He has written papers on digital libraries, modern library buildings, DRM and electronic resources.