Skip to content

Book Bunk: In Kenya, These Women Are Restoring and Reclaiming Nairobi’s Dilapidated, Colonial-Era Libraries

If managed properly, libraries can be a treasure trove of information and a place for community building. In Nairobi, a publisher and an author have joined forces to launch a non-profit, Book Bunk, which aims to restore and reimagine the city’s declining libraries. In addition to modernizing their dilapidated structures, they are also overhauling their collections to shake off the shackles of colonial-era thought and embrace more Africanist perspectives. The surrounding communities use the libraries as workspaces, with about 300 people across the locations accessing them every day, according to Koinange. Before Book Bunk restored them, Kaloleni and Eastlands had no running water or workable bathrooms, and McMillan had a barely functioning electrical system, forcing the library to close when the sun set.