Biko Wesa
Biko Wesa

“The Smallest Library in Africa” tells the story of Peter Otieno, a Kenyan visionary who saw the need to fill the education gap and address one of the main problems in the Mugure slums of Baba Dogo-Nairobi, Kenya: access to books. With the equivalent of just $5 USD, Peter started the library in August of 2014. He bought thin logs, cut them into four pieces to mark the library boundaries, and then mounted the logs in jerry cans for support.

Peter started the library with a few books he owned. Friends who had seen his project and believed in him, donated books they were no longer using and the project started to grow. The library goes beyond books though, as Peter and his colleagues use it as a mobilizing tool to engage and educate children about the challenges the community faces.

Peter’s dream is to one day acquire land and build a library, a permanent structure. Recently the library moved into a rented room where Peter hosts info sessions.

“The library idea is bigger than me. Even when I’m gone, or my entire generation is gone, the following generation will take over,” says Peter.

If you would like to donate books or assist Peter achieve his dream, get in touch with him through

Artist Bios

  • Biko Wesa

    Biko Wesa (b. 1992) is an artist and documentary photographer from Kilifi, Kenya.

    His work focuses on issues related to identity, cultural anthropology and emerging issues in his country and abroad. He started his career in photography in 2012 and later started pursuing personal projects. In 2015, he attended a week-long Canon workshop with Gary Knight, which drew him into visual storytelling and documentary photography. Biko was selected by the World Press Photo as a participant of the East Africa Masterclass in 2016, and was recently among 150 photographers worldwide who attended the 2017 New York Portfolio Review.

    His work has been published in Christina Angell Anderson’s book “After 5: A Photographic Journey in Kenya.” His work has also been exhibited in the Museum of Drug Policy in New York and the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    Biko is represented by Native Agency.


  • United Photo Industries (UPI)

    United Photo Industries (UPI)

    United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.

    Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.

Smallest Library in Africa

 archive : 2017

Featuring: Biko Wesa

Curated by: James Estrin David Gonzalez

Presented by: United Photo Industries (UPI)
  • United Photo Industries (UPI)


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