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Tour Nairobi's iconic public libraries

Nairobi, Kenya

Experience hosted by Angela

3 hoursHosted in English
Committed to safety
This host committed to Airbnb’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Up to 10 people
Includes food and transportation

What you'll do

We will meet at the main branch of the McMillan Memorial Library, located on Banda street, in the heart of the city centre. We will then head to the Eastlands branch in Makadara (eastern part of the city), opened in the late 1970s. Here, we will explore current collections and use, with an emphasis on our plans for transformation.

After that, we will visit the branch in Kaloleni, now undergoing renovation. Kaloleni was built by Italian prisoners of war in the 1940s. Here, we will walk around the neighbourhood, explore Kenyan history-making in the adjacent Kaloleni Social Hall where Kenya's first parliamentary election results were announced in 1963.

Finally, we will make our way back to the main branch on Banda street where will explore historical collections dating back to the early 1900s and share some of the restorative work we're doing on the collection itself.
Other things to note
Book Bunk will provide transport by Uber. We will set off from the main branch, and return guests here after visiting the two satellite branches in Kaloleni and Makadara.
We will meet at the main branch of the McMillan Memorial Library, located on Banda street, in the heart of the city centre. We will then head to the Eastlands branch in Makadara (eastern part of the city), opened in the late 1970s. Here, we will explore current collections and use, with an emphasis on our plans for transformation.

After that, we will visit the branch in Kaloleni, now undergoing renovation. Kaloleni was built by Italia…

What's included

  • Food
    Refreshments (water, light snacks and fruit)
  • Transportation
    We will move around these three spaces in a van provided by a third party (...

Meet your host, Angela

Host on Airbnb since 2018
  • 8 Reviews
  • Identity verified
We run Book Bunk, a social impact firm restoring some of Nairobi's most iconic public libraries. Our background is in arts management and book publishing - we've managed projects ranging from podcasts, artists' residency programmes and publication of some of Africa's leading authors in the past decade. Our collective work centres around literature, memory, public art spaces and the creative economy. In 2018, we featured in The Kenyan Cool Girl’s Guide to Nairobi on Vogue Magazine!
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From $35
/ person
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About the organization: Book Bunk



Book Bunk engages with public library spaces as sites of cultural heritage and public memory. We are focused on the complete restoration and programming for old public libraries as well as the installation of new libraries into public spaces. We imagine that public libraries can be steered to become more than just repositories, acting as sites of knowledge production & shared experiences.

This is a social impact experience where 100% of what you pay for this experience goes to Book Bunk.

Where you'll be

McMillan Memorial Library on Banda Street (Main Branch): Opened in 1931 by Lady McMillan in memory of her husband, Sir Northrup McMillan. This library was only open to white settlers until it was bequeathed to the city in the lead-up to Kenya's independence.

McMillan Memorial Library's Makadara and Kaloleni branches (Eastlands): Both built in the 1970s.

Rated 4.88 out of 5 from 8 reviews.

Renata
September 2019
Angela was lovely, and the work her organization is doing is incredible and much-needed! Good experience for history buffs, library nerds, and those looking to get outside of the typical tourist spots in Nairobi!
Gabrielle
September 2019
So incredibly happy that I signed up for this tour. The work that Angela and The Book Bunk are doing to preserve, rehabilitate, and ultimately transform how the city of Nairobi thinks about history, public memory, decolonization, and physical texts is simply awe-inspiring. Venturing to the three sites with Angela felt like meeting up with an old friend who gives you the inside scoop on book publishing and public-private partnerships. She encouraged questions, had thoughtful reflections on the non-profit's development, and was able to talk about the city's history with great ease. Highly recommend this tour to folks who are book lovers, anthropology and history nerds, students of public policy/urban planning/public-private partnerships , or anyone who wants to learn more about Nairobi's past and future in an unconventional way!
So incredibly happy that I signed up for this tour. The work that Angela and The Book Bunk are doing to preserve, rehabilitate, and ultimately transform how the city of Nairobi thi…
Andrew
July 2019
Really interesting chance to step into a piece of Nairobi's history and learn about the work Book Bunk are doing to revive these essential public spaces!
Kola
June 2019
This is a wonderful look into the efforts being taken in Nairobi to archive and renovate the local public libraries. I felt immersed in a history both dynamic and complex. 100% would recommend!
Lyndsey
June 2019
This was a fabulous way to get to know the communities surrounding 3 libraries and support the fantastic efforts that these women are making to deliver better services to the learners we saw vigorously studying on a Saturday morning!
Wanjiru
June 2019
This was a real eye-opener for me, not only from a historical perspective but also through the work Book Bunk is doing to restore the libraries and encourage more involvement of Kenyan youth in the arts. Well done team, keep it up!

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 10 guests ages 18 and up can attend.

What to bring

Comfortable walking shoes

Camera/ phone