Book Bunk Trust

The Book Bunk Blueprint Volume One

What is the Book Bunk Blueprint and why does it matter?

Hello friends! If you are reading this, you probably work as a founder or manager of an innovative initiative in the creative or social impact sector in Africa, or both! You might be an aspiring founder or manager too. You are in the right place if you are looking for company among people who have been there, done that, made mistakes, brushed off the dust and learned a lot along the way. We have figured some things out by trial and error, but you shouldn’t have to struggle as much as we did! The Book Bunk team has put together this Blueprint to tell you how we built our young(ish) and ambitious organisation. We take you through the steps we took from when this was only an idea and what we have learned along the way. And because we are always drawing inspiration from others, we include insights from some of our friends (peer organisations) who are also tackling challenges through creativity and innovation. This Blueprint is our way of documenting  our process as we go – we are very much still learning and evolving as an entity. Volume One documents the first phase of our journey that we call Book Bunk Phase 1, running from the ideation and inception years (2014 to 2017) and the first five years of our existence since 2017. 

Now that you know what the Blueprint is, let’s also be clear about what it is not. The Blueprint is not a hard-and-fast, one-size-fits-all, gospel truth view of how to build an institution. We are offering our story as one of many perspectives to support you in your own journey. This Blueprint is not a teaching guide. Rather, consider it a set of field notes from a friend who is telling you about their experiences. Refer to the quote below for more on what we mean:

As Africans we've never stored our knowledge in buildings. Our knowledge has always been stored in people and then we express it through drawings and we tell stories. So for me, what team Book Bunk is doing is daring to remember differently, daring to make inclusive spaces for people. For me that's the thing that makes them one of the most important organisations in the world right now because they're just saying that we're going to do this our way and it matters. And no one's stopping us.

Syokau Mutonga, (Book Bunk Alumnus) former Research & Inventory Manager.

Book Bunk is founded

Book Bunk was founded in October 2017 by a writer and publisher duo; Wanjiru Koinange and Angela Wachuka. Our formation is rooted in a love for literature and storytelling, and the belief that art is a major catalyst for transformational social change.

March 2018
Public Partnership
Partnership with Nairobi City County

Eventually, after a long period of consultation, presentations with various stakeholders within the County and refinement of the partnership details, a formal MOU was signed. It allowed Book Bunk to carry out restoration of three libraries (McMillan, Kaloleni and Eastlands).

December 2019
First Edition
A Night At The Library fundraising gala

A Night at The Library is an annual fundraising gala that aims to re-introduce audiences to these public libraries and showcase the past, present and future of these spaces. The goal is to raise funds and secure partnerships needed for this groundbreaking work.

June 2020
Kaloleni Library
Completion of physical restoration

The Kaloleni Library is the smallest branch of the three and caters to a much younger audiences, mostly children. Restoration plans for this library are focused on children, and was completed in June 2020. Plans extend to the adjacent Kaloleni Social Hall, which holds a significant place in Kenya’s independence history. It was here that leaders like Tom Mboya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Jomo Kenyatta and Milton Obote addressed large meetings attended by up to 6,000 people.

December 2020
Book Bunk Podcast
A Palace For The People

Welcome to A Palace for The People, a podcast unearthing pieces of Nairobi’s history that support and feed the restoration process of the McMillan Memorial Library and its branches in Makadara and Kaloleni. Hosted by the Founders of Book Bunk; Angela Wachuka and Wanjiru Koinange, the title of this podcast is inspired by Eric Klinenberg’s book, Palaces for The People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.


December 2020
A Night At The Library

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Our annual fundraising gala- A Night At The Library, is back on 11th December 2020! This evening showcases the public libraries we have been working to restore in Kaloleni, Makadara and the CBD. We engage with audiences and lovers of public spaces, and raise funds as well as crucial partnerships that make this groundbreaking work restoring #NRBLibraries possible.

June 2021
Eastlands Library
Completion of physical restoration

Eastlands library is the largest and busiest of the three Book Bunk project libraries. It attracts teens and young adults. Eastlands library is a stone throw away from the law courts and county offices (Makadara is an electoral constituency within Nairobi County) and shares a compound with the Huduma Centre, a public service hub. This branch gets the most foot traffic of all three, with a total of 23,923 users in 2022.

December 2022
McMillan Memorial Library.
Unveiling of building plans

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