By Grace Mugoya
It is now two years since the First Lady Jeannette Kagame launched Rwanda Library Services (RLS). This library came up as a combination of the National Library and Kigali Public Library—an initiative that was championed by the Rotary Club Kigali Virunga.
The project was driven by the motive of creating opportunities for the public to have access to information being a key factor towards promoting the culture of reading to significantly contribute to building knowledge based economy according to Jennifer Turatsinze, the Director of RLS.
As the project continued, the Rotary club fell short of funds to continue the construction and because of the importance of the project, the government supported it; and through the public-private partnership, RLS was opened, bringing National and Public libraries together to work towards a common goal. Currently,
RLS operates under the Ministry of Sports and Culture. RLS is therefore responsible for ensuring that library policies and programs are implemented as well as advocating for establishment of other public and community libraries across the country.
“Public and community libraries set must have the required standard to be able to respond to the needs of the users. Among others, RLS builds capacity for the librarians through conducting regular trainings to ensure they adapt to the changes in their daily work,” says Turatsinze.
Currently, there are no institutions training librarians in the country. To bridge this gap, RLS designed a program of training librarians to equip them with the necessary skills that enable them to perform to the required standard.
The trainings target librarians from across the country. In addition, RLS offers various programs including language sessions, holiday programs, ICT literacy, and book discussion.
Others are Test of English as a language, educative movie night, among others. RLS is open to the public from Monday to Sunday from 7am to 8.00pm except during public holidays.
RLS invests in ICT
As a channel through which RLS’s services can easily be accessed online, a website; www.rls.gov.rw is in place and active. Through this site, the public can get access to the various programmes offered by RLS’s. Among others, one is able to access reading materials including textbooks (e-book) and e-journal. This initiative is mainly for those unable or wishing to get access to reading material without necessarily traveling to the Kacyiru based library.