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Vtabu, the virtual library worth Sh250 million launched in Kenya to cultivate a reading culture

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The much anticipated Kenya’s first virtual library worth Sh250 million, containing over 200,000 digitised books, periodicals, research papers and government publications has been launched at Maktaba Kuu premises in Nairobi.

Its launch hinted last year, the library seeks to encourage a reading culture and provide an avenue through which one can grow and hone their skills in a particular field, anytime and anywhere.

Launched by Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts Cabinet Secretary, Ababu Namwamba, the virtual library named Vtabu is accessible from any internet-enabled device globally.

It will also host e-books downloadable for offline reading.

During the launch, the CS also unveiled a tier-two data centre that state agencies and other public institutions can lease cloud storage services and a digitisation hub where Kenyans can seek to upload their books, records, newspapers or photographs.

The virtual library has an assortment of resources accessible for free, especially children’s content and general information e-books, and journals and attracts a nominal daily membership fee of Sh20 fee payable via wireless payment platforms.

One can also pay weekly at Sh100, monthly at Sh500, bi-annual at Sh1,500 and an annual membership fee is set at Sh2500.

“ The Virtual Library with its Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) materials will greatly support young learners to easily identify their talents and work to nurture these skills as their future career opportunities. The Talanta Hela initiative is meant to promote youth’s creativity and talents and the virtual library is a platform they can use to monetise their literary works. I, therefore, urge the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to partner with Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) in promoting knowledge sharing in schools, higher learning institutions and TVETs,” The CS said.

President William Ruto’s speech read by the CS, declared 12 July as the annual national reading day.

E-books for every subject covered in Pre-School, Primary, Junior and High School, as well as Tertiary and University levels, are available on Vtabu. Books on any topic, both fiction and nonfiction, have also been included.

Along with providing virtual library service, KNLS has also allowed government agencies and other organizations to use its data centre for cloud storage services and its digitization hub to digitize important records, images, and maps.

KNLS has also been utilizing their digital platform to provide youngsters looking to improve their creativity and innovativeness with on-demand digital skills training in areas like coding, digital marketing, graphic design, and ICT skills. They will be able to pursue online digital jobs as a result.

Vtabu app is up and running on Google Playstore. You can download and explore its feature. Create a reading culture!

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