Presenting the Future McMillan Proposed Restoration Plans for McMillan Memorial Library, Nairobi
The McMillan Memorial Library is Nairobi’s oldest library and Kenya’s second oldest after the Seif bin Salim Library in Mombasa. It was opened in 1931 by Lady Lucie McMillan in memory of her late husband, Sir William Northrup McMillan.
McMillan was an American who settled in Kenya in the early 1900s. The library was managed by trustees appointed by Lady McMillan, and its use was restricted to European settlers until 1958. The library was bequeathed to the then Nairobi City Council, who are still its custodians. Through a milestone partnership with Nairobi City County, Book Bunk has taken on the restoration of this important heritage site. This role includes but is not limited to the sourcing of funds, steering architectural restoration, and consequent management of the libraries
The McMillan Memorial Llibrary is a 2040 sqm, two-storey building. The building is neo-classical in design, featuring granite-clad columns along the façade and a grand white marble trapezoidal stairway leading up to the portico. Two lion statues flank either side of the entrance. The external walls were constructed of smooth rendered stone under a flat roof and the internal walls are clad in polished timber panels. The windows are glazed in tall steel casements allowing for ample natural lighting and the doors are made of heavy hardwood panels hung in timber frames, pedimented to the lintels. The floors are finished in parquet to the main areas with terrazzo to the entrance way. The building features a skylight, antique fittings and hardwood furniture as well as a series of artefacts and art pieces.
But! Still, the library persists! 7,704 library users walked through its doors in 2022, and we continue to host some of the city’s most important and engaging events and conversations.
McMillan Memorial Library Exhibition
Welcome to the McMillan Memorial Library Exhibition, curated by the Book Bunk team. It showcases the past, present and future of McMillan Memorial Library which is Nairobi’s oldest library, and the next in line for restoration by Book Bunk. The exhibition showcases our restoration work, highlights the history of Kaloleni, Eastlands and McMillan Memorial Libraries; and takes you on a journey back in time to the 1930’s. It concludes with a premiere of the plans for the future and an opportunity to share your feedback on proposed plans for the restoration of McMillan Memorial Library.