Since its foundation in 1984, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law has systematically built up a research library in Lund, focusing on public international law in general and human rights law and humanitarian law in particular. The collection, which consists of approximately 30,000 titles, including a large number of periodicals, forms not only the leading human rights library in Sweden, but is also generally considered to be among the top five human rights libraries in Europe.
The collections are registered in LIBRIS – the Swedish national catalogue system – used by all major academic institutions in the country and also in Lovisa, the Lund University Libraries catalogue. Inter-library loans are offered to other libraries and the service is much appreciated since many books are unique and cannot be found elsewhere.
In addition to the extensive literature collection, the library has, in order to provide access to electronic journals and other web based material, been equipped with computers with internet connections. Furthermore, 25 workstations have been added to the library, with desk-tops and wireless access to internet from private lap-tops, in order to provide a conducive study environment.
The library is open to the public and attracts a variety of people, such as students in masters programmes and undergraduate programmes in human rights, such as those organized by Lund University and Malmö University, researchers, doctoral candidates, visiting scholars and others who, in the course of their research and studies, have reason to make use of the library’s collections and facilities. Researchers from developing countries are frequently finding their way to the library, and the Institute receives numerous requests from academics in developing countries who wish to spend some time at the Institute in order to make use of the library facilities.
The library is also a meeting point between master students from the International Human Rights Law program at the Faculty of Law and students from various human rights courses. Many activities arranged by the students and their NGO, Jus Humanis, have taken place at the library and its meeting room.
The importance of the library in the context of international development cooperation may be elucidated by the following information, reflecting the situation 2011:
- Guest researchers from Jordan, United States, China, Turkey, Italy, and Sweden have been using the library for their research because of the high quality of the collection and accessibility to electronic media, thanks to the network among libraries at Lund University.
- Scholars and academic teachers regularly visit the library for research. For longer periods, scholars from China has carried out own research at the Institute; and
- The library has in collaboration with the Department for International Programmes conducted trainings for librarians and IT-specialists in various topics related to modern libraries: concept of open access and open source, mastering web searching, providing ICT tools such as website, blogs, wikis, enabling multi-faceted communication and information dissemination as well as traditional skills needed for librarians such as cataloguing and classification using international standards. During 2011 the library carried out a training for librarians from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria and Morocco.