Margaret Thatcher Library rich collection continues to offer resources
Standing tall at Moi University’s main campus in Eldoret is the Margaret Thatcher Library, arguably one of the biggest libraries in the East African region that shows deep relations between Kenya and the United Kingdom.
The modern library is named after the first female British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
In 1988, then premier Thatcher, in a State visit together with the late Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, toured the institution.
President Moi requested the British PM to assist in the construction of a library that would live many generations to come.
Besides the collections of books, the library also hosts a cultural centre, home to some of the rarest collection of artifacts from all over the country such as gourds and traditional attire.
“It is not just books that we disseminate information. We also have these artifacts that enable us to share our rich history,” the University’s librarian Solomon Mutai told People Daily on a tour of the institution.
Through President Moi and Thatcher, the UK through its overseas agency under the British Council gave £7.5 towards construction and other infrastructural facilities.
Upon completion of the library they donated books worth £1 million.
Mutai says the library can host up to 3,500 readers at a given sitting, making it one of the biggest in terms of space.
“It was during the construction of this library that the university through the Kenyan government requested the Prime Minister be allowed to name this library after her.
It was a long process but finally she accepted the request and two portraits from Downing Street were sent to this library,” says Mutai.
The institution last received the late President Moi in October 2014, when it marked 30 years of the university.
The library can hold up to one million stocks of books but currently, there are slightly over 250,000 books.
With the new technology, Mutai observes, the facility is embracing electronic books.
“Lately, we have been buying electronic books and this mean we are getting less and less of physical books. We are re-organising this library to accommodate electronic books,” says Mutai.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Isaac Kosgey noted that the late Moi would be remembered for the impact the university had in churning out reputable and distinguished scholars across the borders who have contributed to solving the problems bedevilling the society.
“This is a coveted legacy that will outlive him many years to come. Moi greatly contributed to the education of this country,” said Kosgey.
He says that the former president had played a key role in establishment of the institution following the recommendation of the university by the Mackay commission to set up universities in the rural settings.