Do not allow construction of noisy kiosks near public library


Books at a library. Kiosks have been constructed right outside the Kenya National Library in Garissa town. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • I fail to understand why someone saw the need to put up those stalls in the presence of the public library.
  • The government and area residents ought to seriously care for and support this regional public library.

Something pretty odd and staggering caught my eye while I was recently moving on the tarmac road right in front of the Garissa regional public library located in my hometown, Garissa: I belatedly found out that the striking anterior prominence and beauty of the library was practically concealed by some newly constructed metallic stalls that have come up right ahead of the frontal fence of the library with an implied commercial intend.

As someone who has prolifically benefited from this library and understands its value to the public, I must say that what I saw was a totally displeasing sight that left me wondering why such a blemish was allowed in the first place.

There are several specific reasons why I feel that the building of those stalls is wide off the mark and inconveniencing to the library.

First of all, the reading facility now looks very uninviting from the front when you compare it with the aesthetically eye-catching and appealing image that it once presented such that it also arguably stood as one of the most nice-looking social amenities in Garissa County and the broader Northeastern region.

The cheap substitution of this tremendous attractiveness of the library with the new commercial site is consequently an outrageous and unreasonable loss, because it now makes the library to somewhat look like a granary for those stalls.

Commercial insanity

Secondly, I do not see any sense of wisdom or importance in bringing commerce, with its conceivably animated nature of transactions, in the vicinity of a major public library like this one here since it is perfectly supposed to be a serene, soundless and spacious place for heightening human concentration, creativity and knowledge absorption capacity.

Especially, in my own experience of using the library, I know there are folks who sometimes, depending on how favorable the weather is, would prefer to enjoy their reading within some spaces of the lovely outdoor compound of the library, which also in one corner hosts the Kenyatta University's Open, Distance and E-learning (ODEL) regional centre. However, the new stalls, once operational, may create potential bothers for such readers like inadvertent noise pollution due to the stalls' potential full of go.

Still on the commercial insanity about this project, I fail to understand why someone saw the need to put up those stalls in the presence of the public library when there is already a finished and almost ready-to-be-occupied modern market centre that Garissa County government, through World Bank funding, has established at a nearby zone. 

What if this started route of commercial development near this regional public library in future degenerates into a total dislocation, if not vanishing, of the crucial public facility, and as well "kill" its informative and transformative power and legacy as was purposely initiated by the late Abdi Aress Mohamed?

The government and the residents of the region ought to seriously care for and support this regional public library, besides tapping into its social and educational value, more so now when the area is battling problems such as poor reading culture, radicalization, drug abuse and the anxieties of the Covid-19 virus pandemic.

Mr Mohamed is a communication specialist in Garissa County. Email: [email protected]