Kigali Public Library

The Kigali Public Library is much more than just books. Rooftop cafe, mini-theater, internet area, workshops: this place has everything you need to learn, grow, and thrive. 

When I was young, I would come to the library with my friends, pretending we were there to study, but instead, running through novels for six hours straight – and still left unwillingly. The peaceful gardens, 40,000+ books, and just the quiet and cozy environment have been attracting many people, myself included, for over a decade. 

And over the years, the library has kept up with new and modern technologies. The Kigali Public Library is now one of Africa’s leading literature and education hubs. So, let me show you everything it has to offer!

Quick Info

Membership Prices

The Kigali Public Library offers different membership options based on your age and period of subscription:

CATEGORYMONTHLYANNUAL
KidsRWF500RWF5,000
StudentsRWF800RWF8,000
AdultsRWF1200RWF10,000

There’s also an annual membership for institutions based in Rwanda, including schools. For a flat rate of RWF 100,000 per year, every staff member at these institutions can access Kigali Public Library’s books and facilities. 

Facilities

The library has plenty of specialized rooms and facilities depending on your needs. These facilities are divided into 4 main areas.

Main Library 

Home to 40,000+ books and various reading and study areas.

Rooftop Community Area

Includes Shokola restaurant and the mini-theater.

Collaboration Area

The meeting and conference rooms are located here, alongside workshops hosted by Futurite STEM Rwanda -a company that helps develop young generations’ creative and innovative potential through 3D design, Arduino electronics, robotics, and much more.

Study Area

Here you’ll find the French Institute corner, with thousands of French novels, comic books, and documentaries, some study desks, and the adult/non-fiction books collection.

Interactive Area

Home to various facilities like the front desk area, internet cafe, Nabu-Kigali office (a digital reading app for children and a Rwandan publishing platform for authors). 

The Korea Corner is also here, an exhibition and education center to learn about Korean culture, the kids’ zone, and another non-fiction book collection.

Kigali Public Library also has large public gardens open to the community and free public parking. 

Events

The library has become a popular venue for events, such as corporate and private workshops and educational seminars. Popular events hosted at the library include book launches, team-building exercises, and private functions like birthdays. 

Kigali Public Library’s mix of indoor and outdoor settings, not to mention the sunny rooftop balcony at Shokola, make any function or event memorable, big or small.

To stay updated about upcoming events and updated news, you can always check out the official Kigali Public Library website. There’s also always a flier at the entrance with upcoming events open to the public.

Programs

Kigali Public Library has plenty of programs for children and adults. They include fun and educative workshops and a range of book clubs and book readings. 

There are educational programs curated especially for children, like robotics classes, storytime activities on weekends, and so on.

There is also an outreach program for any organization or individual supporting vulnerable people and an educational movie time program for children! 

All to promote literacy and the reading culture in our society.

Restaurant

Now, my favorite place in the library: Shokola Cafe!

Not just for my forever love of delicious food and expertly brewed coffee, but also for beautiful views on the rooftop, and the cool and very cozy ambiance. 

Whether you come with your laptop to work or just want to keep reading in a relaxing environment, it’s a wonderful space for both mind and soul. With a not-so-expensive menu full of sweet, savory, salads and sides, Shokola adds the final flourish of excellence to the library.

History

Kigali Public Library was opened in 2012 by the Kigali-Virunga Rotary Club. It is currently running on a public-private partnership with the Ministry of Education.

It was the first of its kind to open in Rwanda. However,  bookstores like Ikirezi and Librairie Caritas have been operating before the library opened.

Final Thoughts

If you love reading and it’s your first time hearing about the Kigali Public Library, brace yourself. I often go there looking for a specific book and come home with 3 I didn’t even know existed (40,000+ books can be quite the distraction!). 

The library has something for everyone. If you love cozy, quiet spaces, there’s plenty. If you need to be productive, make use of the study areas. And if you love food, great coffee, and chilling with friends, Shokola is absolutely one of the best restaurants in Kigali.

If you were waiting for a sign, this is it. Visit and share your experience at the Kigali Public Library because I, for one, think this library has everything and is bringing positive impacts to Rwanda as a whole.

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5 thoughts on “Kigali Public Library”

  1. Nice article! Just wanted to clarify that “librarie-read leebrare” is the french word for bookstore. What is called Library in english is Bibliotheque in French. Another thing, this isnt the first library, but certainly the first national and of that size.

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  3. Great initiative and great start! I like the building and hope to visit anytime soon. Hopefully in the future, books will be available for everyone across the country, particularly young kids.

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