Africa

A Palace For The People: A Podcast About Nairobi’s Public Libraries

Book Bunk is pleased to announce the launch of its brand new podcast, A Palace for The People. Hosted by the founders of Book Bunk; publisher Angela Wachuka and writer Wanjiru Koinange, A Palace for The People chronicles the journey to and process of restoring Nairobi’s oldest library – the McMillan Memorial Library, and satellite branches in the Eastern part of the city, in Makadara and Kaloleni. 

This podcast’s title, “Palaces for The People”, is believed to have been coined by Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American who funded the construction of over 800 libraries worldwide in the 19th century, including the McMillan Memorial Library, through the Carnegie Corporation of New York. One of the McMillan Memorial Library’s mandates upon opening in 1931 was to “establish, maintain and develop” a circulating library service then known as The East African (Carnegie) Circulating Library. The title is also partly informed by Eric

Klinenberg’s book of the same name, exploring libraries as social infrastructure and their potential to contribute to equitable societies. The eight-episode season is produced by Maeve Frances, Wanjiru Koinange and Angela Wachuka. Sound design is by Anthony Kiringe, with research and fact-checking by Book Bunk’s Research & Inventory Manager, Syokau Mutonga. 

“Renovation works tend to focus on the future of buildings – which is useful and super important but this work has shown us the importance of looking back as well. This podcast has been a really fun and interactive way for us to do so,’’ says Wanjiru. 

A Palace for the People launched in December 2020 and is available on all podcasting platforms including Soundcloud, Apple podcasts and Spotify. The podcast is supported by British Council. 

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