Ronald Slye: What’s your hope for the future of the library?
That is very interesting. When I started training in, in Rwanda, I really thought that the, the library should, the li-, the collection should go to Rwanda. One of the reasons was that this is, these are the people for which we are here in the f-, in the first place. There is a lot of interest also in Rwanda for the collection. There, there is a lot of co-, interest, be it from the universities, from the government, they want the collection.
So I would say still they deserve the collections. And there is a center, a research center being built now within the Rwandan judicial sector and it is called The Center for Access to Legal Information in Rwanda.
It is a very impressive building that can (_), that can host 50,000 books and it’s also been built to accommodate archives and (_), start, how do you call, state of the art equipments, scanners, and everything.
So, I think they are preparing themselves to receive the collection. My only regret with the Rwandans is that I happen to know about this Center because I visit Rwanda a lot, but they’ve really not put that argument forth when they expressed their interest. Because what the UN is looking into when they look for a recipient for the collection is that, “Is there capacity?”
“Is there human resources?” “Is there, would the collection be looked well after when we hand it over?” And I’ve not seen that, and I can’t make the case for that. They have to make the case for that. So that’s my only regret. But I still feel that there’s a lot of interest.
I’ve seen, I've seen Rwandan legal professionals progress. In the beginning, they had very little – I won’t say this is (____), maybe, relatively, you had people who just came from the university and even the education system there, in my opinion was not, espe-, especially in private universities, was not really up to standard according to me.
But these are people who once in a job are challenged and they developed themselves so much that you don’t recognize them two years down the road. So, I think there is, they’re doing research. They are developing themselves. They are very dynamic but, but also they should promote that. They should sell that and I’m not seeing that.
RS: So given – I mean it sounds like there’s some strong reasons to want to have it in Rwanda but there’s also some concerns given capacity. If you were making that decision, how would you, what sort of criteria would you use to make the decision about where the collection should go?
I mentioned that in the beginning I felt it should go there, and I still feel that for some reason it should go there. But resources, human resources. First of all, there are not a lot of trained librarians in Rwanda. We’ve trained some but this is just casual training.
The school – there’s a library school in Rwanda that trains to the level of not even a degree; I think a certificate. I’ve trained, I lecture in that University and to me, the level is not also up to trained people who would, who will be managing such an impressive collection. So that is also one of my concerns.
But, if you put the se-, the, the collection in the University of Butare for instance, the National University of Rwanda, I think it will be looked at. This is a very old library and that has partnership with people from Belgium, from Canada and they have on the job training for professional librarians who work in the library.
My concern with the judicial sector will be that there is lack of human resource and the turnover in the judicial sector is very high. For instance, people who we trained three years ago have left so we need to train another set and another set and another set.
So, because of the turnover I’m pretty much concerned about the judicial sector. But if you put it in an inst-, institution like the university, I think the collection will be better off.