The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Elizabeth Watson

Panel description: Libraries without walls

Elizabeth Watson
UWI, Barbados

Anusha Wijayaratne
Open University Sri Lanka

Pauline Ngimwa
African Virtual University

Neela Jagannathan

Libraries have always been a major focus for all kinds of learning, formal and informal. The library is at the heart of the traditional university or college, providing access to collections, specialist help and support, use of technology and a place to study alone or with fellow students. For institutions serving learners at a distance library services are more of a challenge. In the last 10-15 years, libraries in distance teaching universities worldwide have been exploring different approaches to supporting their students. The development of network technology has provided new opportunities to deliver content and services online but for many countries there are still economic, technical and educational barriers to overcome. Librarians have risen to this challenge and millions of students are now benefiting from library resources and services to enhance their learning experience. This panel session will present case studies from Africa, India and Sri Lanka describing highly innovative approaches by libraries to meet the needs of their staff and students. The presentations will provide the focus for what we hope will be a wide ranging discussion on the topic.

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