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October 30, 2008
Lisa P. Nathan
Nell Carden Grey
8:27 - 18:52
Lisa P. Nathan: Describe to me some of the programs that you run through the library, both here and in Kigali.
Okay, here, I used to run informa-, I mean literacy programs to staff – how to use the databases, how to use information resources, or simply how to use the library. But it’s been very busy lately, as we’ve had to also implement the training programs in Kigali. So we’ve, by year, we will spend two months in Kigali training, and two months is the physical presence in Kigali, just training.
But you also have time you spend, actually to prepare for training programs in Kigali. So what we, we did in Kigali, the training programs are actually in the area of using internet as a research tool. And I remember when we first started this program in Kigali it was actually very discouraging.
People never knew how to use a computer, and we’re talking about university students. They didn’t know how to, we, we had a program on using the librar-, the internet as a research tool and with the assumption that they knew how to use a computer and they knew how to go to the internet.
And actually when we got there, we actually had to teach them. This is a mouse. This is the keyboard. This is how to use. This is how to type. And the first experience was very frustrating. But it’s amazing. Rwandan people are really smart. From the first training, you know there was, word of the mouth – is this how you say it? – word of the mouth.
People actually went and trained so that when we came the second year, people were at least on, you know, knowing what the co-, a computer is. There was much progress. So we have this training program on internet, using internet as a research tool. That was one. And the other problem also was that those who had used the internet before and they were a very small percentage, they used it only for email.
So actually, in the process of training students how to use internet as a research tool, we taught them how to use a computer. We also taught them how to open an email address, how you send the documents, how you save a document, how you print the document. So these are little things that we associate with our training.
And that’s one training. And the training was designed first of all for the judicial sector, because the primary partner of the ICTR in the Capacity Building Program is the judicial sector. Part of our mandate is str-, to strengthen the judicial sector in Kigali.
So we started off with judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys but since the major population, the major patrons or a, a very big percentage of our patrons in our library in Kigali are students, we, we saw there a need for such training, so we also did that training.
Then as we were going to Kigali, people of Rwanda, they were also thinking, “Oh, we need library.” So we were at the same time promoting libraries. There were lot of, lots of initiatives in the judicial sector on setting like pockets of information services, and they were also requesting our need to train them how to run a library servi-, how to run a library.
So, we put together this training on managing a library and okay, if you, you set a library or if you establish a lib-, you establish a library, you also have to think about automation. So there was a library software that we use here before and it was called Unisys, mi-, w-, yeah, Unisys, freely distributed by UNESCO and it is a very good software. Because of the fact that it was f-, freely distributed, we trained in this software. So that’s what is being used in libraries of the judicial sector now, yeah.
LPN: So there are libraries in the judicial sector of Rwanda. How about in the public sector?
We have not done anything in the public sector because as I know, our main, our main mission is to strengthen the judicial sector, but you are right. There is a need in, in the public sector because there is no public library in Kigali. There is one that actually is near to completion, and that one was built by the, I think Rotary. It’s a Rotary initiative for a pub-, a public library, but before there was none. We saw there the need but . . .
LPN: I didn’t mean to suggest . . .
LPN: . . . that that was your need to fill . . .
LPN: …but as far as the, the patrons that come in to the information center, the library in Kigali, can you talk to the different groups that come in that are served there both, you know, the people who physically walk through the door? You have a, my understanding is there’s different populations that come in . . .
LPN: . . . in Rwanda. Can you describe?
You have mainly students, law students; other students as well. Our collection there is mainly legal. Then you also have people of the jud-, judicial sector, legal professionals in Kigali, judges in Kigali, they use our libraries a lot. As a matter of fact, we don’t provide loan services in the library.
But for judges, we make an exception because they have an address. We can call them. We know their offices so we make an exception because our main, our main objective is for them to access information and this is a specific populati-, category that can’t really move to the center to use those resources.
So for them, we provide loan services, but for students we can’t. F-, researchers, they also use that library. NGOs, Human Rights NGOs, they use the library. So these are the main categories that use the library.
LPN: In Kigali.
In Kigali, yeah.
LPN: Can you describe the patrons who come into your library here in Arusha?
This library in Arusha is mainly as you know a corporate library. It is, it was established to serve the needs, or to address the information needs of the judges of ICTR and the parties to the trial. But we also understand that we have to shine in the community so we have universities around Arusha who sent the students, especially law students to use the library.
But the process is quite – it’s not a public library and for them to use the library, we must receive a letter from the university with the names of the students that they recommend for this library and usually, we will send an approval letter back, yes.
LPN: And defendants, defense . . .
De- . . .
LPN: . . . the, the broader, within the ICTR . . .
LPN: . . . the different people who come in quite regularly, who do you see, I don’t mean names, but the types of people you see?
Those who use the library the most, I mean who I see the most in the library are actually defense lawyers, and there’s one reason to this. We’ve tried to provide desktop information delivery so for judges and prosecutors, they usually have access to network resources so they can just access the network and have the resources that we put in the network.
S-, the-, we-, some of the resources or many of our resources are provided by IP so if you log into your computer, you have access to the databases and you can use a database. We also send some information by email. We have the emails of people, prosecutors, judges and other staff of the ICTR.
But the defense don’t al-, always have access to all of these resources so they are actually constrained to coming to the library. But there is also a problem because we, although we, we open from eight to five, they don’t really have time to come and use the library. So for them to a-, to fully use lib-, library resources is, it's difficult.
They’ve requested us to, to open during weekends so that they can come and use library services but because of resource cont-, constraints we’ve not been able to accommodate that request.