About us

The Sergio Vieira de Mello United Nations Library at Nairobi is a joint initiative of the United Nations agencies based in Nairobi, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Sergio Vieira de Mello United Nations Library at Nairobi was officially opened on 30 June 2004 by Mr Klaus Toepfer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UNEP and Director General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). He was accompanied by Mrs Anna Tibaijuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mr. Paul Andre de la Porte, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya and, on behalf of the Government of Brazil, Mrs Vera Pedrosa, Ambassador, Under-Secretary-General for Policy,Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The Library, which was previously known as the UNEP Library and Documentation Centre, has been named in recognition of Sergio Vieira de Mello and all the other staff members who have lost their lives in the service of the United Nations.

In Dec 2004 the UN General Assembly adopted resolution A/Res/59/126 A-B para 104 which says "notes with appreciation the operation of a common library in Nairobi within existing resources, in line with the approach set out in paragraph 37 of the Secretary-General's report on the modernization and integrated management of United Nations Libraries and in-depth review of library activities, and urges all United Nations offices in Nairobi to participate in and support this venture."

Mission Statement

"Information for development by bringing information closer to people."

The Library’s purpose is to develop and maintain a collection of scientific and technical information on the global state of the environment, human settlements and UN-related issues which will assist the staff of the United Nations and outside users in analyzing trends, assessing problems and promoting activities leading to environmentally sound development. In addition, it acts as a depository library for the United Nations and some of its specialized agencies.

The Library is guided by the following objectives:

  • Develop and implement UN documentation and information policy
  • Be the lead UN Library in the field of environment and human settlements
  • Serve other staff members of various UN specialized agencies, students, researchers, civil servants etc. who need specialized information for decision making.

Library Collection

The collection is composed of UN, UNEP, UN-HABITAT, UNDP, UNIC, UNHCR, UNIFEM reference materials, books/documents, Scientific Journals, Videos as well as UN official documents.
The collection has approximately 60,000 classified titles and has a collection of periodicals in print format. Materials acquired by the Library from 1973-1986 are classified according to the Universal Decimal Classification. More recent materials are available in the Library database called UNALIS-Bibliographic Database and are clssified using an inhouse classification scheme. The Library maintains a list of newly acquired books and periodicals.

The Sergio Vieira De Mello Library is located at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya in LB building.

Opening Hours
The Library is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. on Fridays.

The Library is open to all members of Academic, Social communities who may be interested in research of various topics and areas. The books, periodicals and other reference materials can be read in the Library by any of our clients. Read more on Loan policy.


Rules and Regulations

General Rules

  1. Smoking is not permitted in the Library.
  2. Consumption of food and drinks is not permitted in the Library.
  3. No bags, umbrellas, parcels, etc except files and books may be brought into the Library. Adequate storage facilities have been provided at the entrance to the Library.
  4. On leaving the Library, all users are required to produce for inspection all books and items taken out of the Library.
  5. Silence must be observed strictly in the Library.
  6. Reservation of seats is not permitted. Books and other articles left for any length of time on chairs and tables may be removed by the library staff.
  7. Users must be decently dressed and conduct themselves properly in the Library.
  8. The Library staff on duty has the right to request a user to leave the premises if he is found to be violating any of the Library rules.
  9. Official time for determining fines on overdue books and for other purposes will be read according to the time determined in the computer system at the Circulation Counter. Should the system be down, the correct time will be determined by the library staff at the counter services.
  10. The Chief Librarian is empowered to withold Library facilities for any infringement of these rules.
  11. The Library will not accept responsibility for the loss or misplacement of personal belongings.
  12. The Chief Librarian may amend the Library Rules and Regulations as and when necessary.

General Loan Rules

  • Only UN Staff members can borrow Library materials.
  • No books or library materials may be brought out of the Library until the loan has been recorded. Unauthorised removal of library materials is regarded as a very serious offence.
  • Library materials borrowed must be returned on or before the due date.
  • The normal loan period for books is two weeks. The Library, however, may fix varying loan periods for different types of materials or users as it deems fit.
  • All borrowers must settle any overdue loans before they are permitted to borrow again.


Cyberspace rules

  • Do not use the computers to do the following:
    • Emails
    • Playing Games
    • Playing music
  • Do not install or uninstall any program or service in any computer. This is only a preserve of the Librarian.
  • If any device of the computer is not working, do not fix it kindly report at the reference desk or to the IT person in charge.
  • You are allowed to use the computer for a time allocated by the librarian. If need be you can be asked to give others opportunity to use the computers
  • Do not send jobs for printing, it is not allowed within the cyber. If necessary contact the Librarians.

Overdue books
Books must be returned by the due date or earlier if recalled by the Librarian . Failure to return a book by the date specified will be treated as a serious offence. The Library will endeavour to send overdue notices but will not be held responsible for non-delivery, under whatever circumstances.

A fine can be imposed on anyone returning an overdue book. The rate will be determined by the Librarian. according to the
value of the [BORROWED] book.

Loss and Damage
Borrowers will be held responsible for materials out on loan. If the material is lost, an immediate report should be made to the Librarian to enable appropriate action to be taken. A borrower is allowed to either replace the book lost or damaged by purchasing it himself or requesting the Library to replace it. All books replaced must be of the latest edition. If the book is one of a set or series they may be called upon to replace the whole set or series.

The main purpose of these rules is to safeguard the common interest of all users and to enable the Library to carry out its functions as efficiently as possible. Failure to observe the rules can lead to disqualification.

*Download Library rules and regulations