Rwanda Archives and Library Services Authority


In the early 1970s, the Government of Rwanda accumulated a large number of documents from ministries, government organisations and public agencies across the country. At that time, the government lacked a system to manage and preserve these important documents.

After nearly a decade of research, debating and seeking advice from international professionals in the field of archiving, the National Archive of Rwanda was established in 1979 and approved by Presidential Decree No. 166/06. Setting up the archive was a major step in preserving the country’s historical records.

However, the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 left most public infrastructure in ruins and the national archive was no exception. Much was lost or left disorganised. After the Genocide, the focus was on rebuilding the nation and so archiving was not prioritised. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that resources could be dedicated to archiving. Since then, much effort has been made to secure invaluable historical documents and share them with the world.

In June 2014, the Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority was established to bring together the work of the National Archive and the Rwanda Library Services.


The following organisations and institutions are key partners for the Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority:

  • The Office of the President
  • The Ministry of Education
  • The Ministry of Sports and Culture
  • The National University of Rwanda
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • International Council of Archives
  • The Aegis Trust


The Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority is responsible for preserving and sharing the country’s documented cultural heritage. The institution gives access to those who seek Rwanda’s archives from anywhere in the world and manages the nation’s public libraries.

Our mission includes preserving information about Rwanda’s history, contributing to the culture of reading and writing, raising funding to support the national archive and library services, issuing instructions that help libraries operate productively, and designing programs that promote the activities of the institution.

Read the law establishing the Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority here.



The role of the Rwanda Archive and Library Services Authority is to:

  • Implement government policy on archives and library service
  • Advise the government on policies and strategies related to the management of archives and library services
  • Plan the programme designed to develop and promote the functioning of the Archives and Library Services Authority
  • Mobilise and raise funds for Rwanda Archives and Library Services Authority
  • Conduct research in the area of archives and library services and disseminate findings thereof to the Government and the public
  • Subject to classified documents, to acquire, process and preserve public and private records and make them accessible to the public
  • Issue instructions relating to the management of records to be retained and disposed of and monitor their implementation
  • Contribute to the promotion of the reading and writing culture
  • Develop and avail national standards for all types of libraries including at least standards relating to infrastructure, libraries and technical services
  • Assign, upon request, a number to documents for publication
  • Monitor and receive copies of works in case such works relate to the country
  • Engage in partnerships with agencies and organisations in charge of archives and library services that are based inside and outside Rwanda and with other agencies and organisations that can help RALSA fulfil its mission.



The authority undertakes a number of major initiatives inline with its mission. One of these is the collection, preservation, digitisation and sharing of the five million pages of materials that make up the national archive. In partnership with Aegis Trust, 3,800,000 pages of documents have been physically preservation and over 2,000,000 pages among those have been scanned and added to a digital repository. This preservation process is on-going and joint efforts are being deployed to sustain the work.

We also work hard to promote a culture of reading and writing. Our annual Reading Festival and the Rwanda Reads campaign are central to this objective. So that Rwandans have access to books and opportunities to learn, we ensure the country’s libraries are well run and have the required resources to serve citizens and visitors.



To collect, preserve and share Rwanda’s documented intellectual and cultural heritage.



The Rwanda Archives and Library Services Authority aims to be the hub of the nation’s documented intellectual and cultural heritage.